How It Works
Shipping times are estimated and not guarantees, and do not include manufacturing times for different bulk size orders or products.
What does this mean?
Shipping times and manufacturing times are two separate things, each having their own timeframe for a product and the delivery mechanism to get the product to its destination.
Why are booksellers much faster?
The question is 'why are booksellers able to deliver much faster than book publishers?' This is because there are about handful of books already printed for retail selling to customers who are paying at a retail price, that any bookseller can get a hold of inside of this warehousing area called Depository.
A depository does not hold a lot of books for any particular author, it shelves about 3 to 10 books at a time and allows multiple booksellers to gain access to them. For this reason, a customer will automatically receive an order earlier.
Book publishers do not use a depository system, they have to make a manufacturing request for the product because they don't physically carry the product on site, or generally keep warehousing placement anymore. Today's manufacturing of a book is called (POD) Print On Demand, no pallet - warehousing stock, an order and print what's requested.
How does the process work?
COST: An author ordering a book from a bookseller at retail price for a few books can be expedient due to the fact that books were already printed, but there is no profitable gain unless an author is in need of books right away or creating royalties for themselves. An author should not expect that a depository would have 50-100 books already printed and available. A consumer however, doesn't buy books in bulk unless they are vendors. And vendors generally make requests within their own distribution network or directly from the publishing house.
ORDERING: An author orders a book at wholesale price from his or her book publisher, the book must be manufactured; printed. This does not mean that the book will be able to get printed within the same day. If it is an order that took place after 4-5pm, or over the weekend, printing may not start until the next following business day.
SIZE OF ORDER: Depending on the size of the order, the manufacturing of it could take a number of days, sometimes even longer just for the printing alone, not counting on the shipping time. The gravity of manufacturing a product is easy mathematics: Picture three printing machines starting at the same time, one with 10 books, another with 50 books, and the third one with 100 books, all waiting to be printed at the same time. Which one would be faster or have a longer wait time period to be produced?
Now, let's go back to depository for booksellers. There is no waiting time period for manufacturing a book because a few has already been printed and ready for retail purchasing.
PRINTING: The book that has now been ordered will be invoiced to a physical printing machine that contains either black and white or color printing system. The printing process can take up to 5-10 business days, even more depending if it is created in paperback vs. saddle stitch, hardcover, case wrapped, etc., and if it needs to be glued, stapled, or coiled. This is also calculated on page count and size of the book itself. When the book is finally completed, it then gets invoiced out to be shipped.
SHIPPING: Shipping can take anywhere from 2 days to 14 days, depending on the type of carrier that is being requested to ship the product, and/or the amount of days that the product is needed, which is an extra cost that the author may choose in order to speed up the shipping process. This is including not calculated with unforeseen weather conditions or holiday ordering traffic. Remember, this is after the printing of a book order has been completed. Therefore, you can just about estimate (in a roundabout figure) your ordering time, manufacturing time, and combining the shipping time.
DELIVERY: The carrier usually transfer a product from one station point to another, whether it is a pickup from a certain location or a direct delivery to your doorstep. If you're not available for your direct delivery, a sticky note will be waiting, or the package could be left. So, we're looking at from 8am to 9pm for the physical product to arrive. This is about in between 13 hours of maximum wait time, not including if you have to sign in order to receive the product and you're not available at that time. Then in general, the package delivery of your product will proceed on to the next day.
Your home delivery most of the time is either UPS, FedEx, or the Post Office, or the combination of either.
NOTE: Amazon has an Amazon Prime delivery van, six wheel vehicles, drones, planes, etc., along with A.I. in the background of packaging and autonomous driving features. This has not yet promoted faster and better services - but rest assure they're working on it.