How to deal with paperback issues


We have long been pushing our hardback editions as much as we can without seeming, well, pushy. This has been for one reason mainly; we believe in the product immensely and the feedback we are getting is that people are very pleased with it. They lie open flat, for example, which is an important issue when you are working with books such as the Yusupov series or my own Grandmaster Preparation books.

We have always been happy with the quality of the paperback books and over the years we have received very few complaints about pages falling out of the books. This is if we exclude the first edition of Experts vs. the Sicilian and a reprint of Grandmaster Repertoire 3, where some copies were bound poorly. We took steps to deal with it at the time.

Now it has happened again. Some copies of Kotronias on the King’s Indian – Volume 4 are losing the title page. It falls out when you try to turn it. We have informed the printer, who has apologised in a way that makes sense, and we have also informed the shops. Most copies that have been sold of this book will have been checked by the shop, but we cannot prevent a few dodgy copies making it into the hands of the readers. If you have bought this book, please check that it is all right. If not, get it replaced.

Which brings me to: If the pages of a book fall out without having been treated unjustly harshly, for example because you were turning the pages, you should get it replaced free from the outlet you bought it from. They will get a free replacement from us.

Our sampling used to suggest that less than one in a thousand would have this problem, but in recent times we are worried that the number might have been rising. For this reason, we have decided to change the binding method from our next print, Playing 1.e4 – Volume 1. The technical term is that our new paperbacks will have ‘thread-sewn binding’ which is the same binding method as our hardcovers use.  

Have we been slow on this issue? I fear that the answer might be ‘yes’ to some extent, but we have acted at the time when we knew it was the right course of action. We would maybe have been able to act earlier, had we not been so obsessed with finishing the new books…

28 thoughts on “How to deal with paperback issues”

  1. Some of the pages of my paperback copy of the wonderful 1.e4 vs The French, Caro-Kann and Philidor by Parimarjan Negi have begun to fall out. This says two things. The pages have been turned many a time, unlike many of my other books! The book has been carried by me to many a tournament!

    I was actually thinking of encouraging the more pages of the book to fall out, so I can re-bind it into 3 (or more separate books) for ease of carrying around when I don’t want all of it. It is also for this reason that I don’t buy hardbacks.

  2. Marin III (GM Repertoire 5) has many pages fallen out, which is pretty irritating.
    Fortunately it’s the only one of more than a dozen QC-books with that problem.

    Good to read you do something about it!

  3. Jacob Aagaard

    To be honest, we have only very recently understood that this is not one in a thousand, but more like one in a hundred copies this happen. From an economics point, we could survive one in thousand, but one in hundred is so frequent that it will annoy some people. We do not want that! To me it would be a case of deep pain if someone said they regretted buying our books.

  4. From the 30 Qualitychess books I own there is only one paperback (boost your chess 2) that completely fell apart.
    I think there’s a slight weakness in the first 1/2 pages of a few other books, but overall the quality is excellent of course!

    Probably too late to return though..

    1. Jacob Aagaard

      As we said, we will go for a sturdier format in the future. We really have only become aware recently that some people have the experience of a few books falling apart. Often after heavy usage, but we want our books to be able to resist this.

      Sadly, we are a business, so we cannot cull all the existing books and replace them with the sturdier format, so older books will still have this slightly less sturdy binding. But if a book falls apart within the first few months of ownership, please take it to the place you bought it and get a replacement.

    1. Jacob Aagaard

      PDF or PGN files are so easily copied that if we did this, we would soon make no new books. We do work with to produce great ebooks for IOS or Android devices at reasonable costs. They are better than PDFs and the format is secure, so it makes sense for us to make it as well.

  5. Yes, I had problems with GM5 as well and also GM6. Got the exchange for better copies after about a week.

  6. Hello, Mr. Jacob, if I buy an e-book in Forwardchess, then I will have a file to download, or I can only read it in the App? Thanks!

  7. Jacob Aagaard

    @Wei Yi
    Only in the app. It will be downloaded on your device, but as an in-app application. We have a free book on the app that you can try with first to see how it works.

  8. Jacob Aagaard

    Recently Danny decided to move back to Germany, which has left us a bit understaffed temporarily. Call it a bottle neck. We will get to it very soon, but we also have other books to finish; and a lot of them have been finished. For example, Playing 1.e4 volume 1 is almost finished in the proof reading and will go to print in the coming week. 1.e4 vs the Sicilian 3 will hopefully go to proof reading this week coming too. 1.d4 1B – The Queen’s Gambit is 2-3 weeks away from going to print. Dynamic Decision Making in Chess is almost finished. As is well known, I am the ghost writer on this one, working with Boris. King’s Indian Warfare has taken a lot of my time, but will now be put in the queue for language editing. This will be after the Mikhailevsky book. We have other books waiting in the wings: Key Concepts of Gambit Play, which needs a 4-5 day check, Thomas Luther’s book is being printed in German and is underway in translation.

    I know I am answering all questions but the one you came with. The reality is that we are probably less than three months away, but not much less. But it will be worth it.

  9. @JacobAagaard Thank you for your update Jacob! Even though I am looking forward to all of your fantastic books, it is Victor’s one (which has been in the works for a while) that I am particularly looking forward too. Thanks for the information.

  10. Jacob Aagaard

    I know, but we also have to look at which books are likely to go out of date first. Andrew was already working on Negi’s book and the Avrukh book is half way done, waiting for him. So it has to be this way.

  11. I look forward to all of these and appreciate the quality we get, so I keep reminding myself to accept the time it takes. Keep up the great work!

  12. Jacob Aagaard

    The Schandorff books include QGD with the exchange variation. And if we did another Playing 1.d4 in the future, it would also not include the Catalan. We try to get the authors to recommend different lines in general, as you can definitely play in more than one way against most openings.

    I will do a new publishing schedule this week.

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