I hate getting shrink-wrappped advances.  If I wanted the book shrink-wrapped I would have said so on my order.  I know that manufacturers cannot resist the temptation to select “good” copies to send to the publisher, but I want the advance copy to represent the same object that’s going to be received in the warehouse: not one that was selected as “better” than its neighbors and then shipped to me in kid gloves so that I’d love it.  If the jacket is going to rub in transit, I’d like to know that as soon as possible, not when someone in the warehouse decides to put a hold on the inventory for checking.

It also happens that I hate taking the shrink-wrap off books: I can never figure out what’s the best way to do this.  True it doesn’t take very long to break in, but if you multiply that by the number of advances we typically get, and the extrapolate that over a year, and all the members of your department . . . well call me crazy, but I think that’s a measurable waste of time.

I once told my major supplier that if I received another shrink-wrapped advance, I’d never send them another order.  I never got another.

I do think that advances should be properly checked.  I like to look at every page on at least one copy and flick though all the other copies.  Check the stamping on the spine, and the squares.  Hold the book by its boards and see if it stays snugly in the case when you dangle it parallel to the desk.  If there’s something wrong with the book I want to be the first person to know it.  Nothing, to my mind, makes you look more incompetent, than having someone else point out to you a glaring error, like say a blank page 97, on a book which you have approved.  Check your advances and you may even be able to stop the shipment before it goes, or at least get it turned around before it’s received.