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3 Things to Consider When Shopping For a Book Printing Company

With so many choices in printing, choosing the right book printer can seem like an impossible task. Books are very intimate products. Writing is a reflective and thoughtful art and books are consumed alone, just the reader and the book. Physical books are held in the hand, with the reader feeling the paper and seeing the printed page as a part of the artistry. The size of the book and quality of the paper give the reader as many clues about the book as the cover art.

With so much riding on the how the book is printed, it makes sense to do your homework before selecting a printer to bring your book to life. Here are three things you should consider to help you find the right printer for you.

What You Need

First ask yourself some questions about what your goals are for book printing. Are you looking for just a few Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) or promotional copies? Do you have an established market and distribution channel? Examine your marketing plan and consider past performance if possible to determine how many copies you hope to sell. Your goals and the number of copies you want to print will help define what your project requires from a printer.

Once editing and formatting is completed you will know the size page your book is formatted to and total number of pages. These specs directly affect the printing costs of your book. Being prepared with the information will help you get accurate quotes from the printers you contact.

What Type of Printing is Right

Once the project is defined somewhat, select the printing method that best suits your needs. This is determined more by the number of copies you want than anything else. If you want only a few dozen copies a digital short run might be the style that fits your needs with low initial set up costs and no minimum copies to order.

The drawbacks, however, are a lower quality finished product and no price break for more copies ordered.

A print run of 500 or more, however, can be much more economically attractive if there is a marketing plan that supports good sales numbers on physical copies.  Using Web Offset printing has a higher setup cost in preparing the plates for the printing press, but at print runs of as little as 500 copies, the overall cost per book could be lower than any digital option. This allows authors and publishers with enough planning and marketing to support the sales to save tremendously on printing costs and keep more of each book sale in their own pocket.

The Service is In the Details

Just as you want to make sure that your book’s cover is professional and attractive, you want to make sure you have professionals detailing your book. Paper must be trimmed and the pages bound with high quality glue. The cover must be printed on cover stock and glued to the binding. You don’t want to take the chance that your printing will be poorly executed and find yourself stuck with printing that is subpar.

What is Your Book Printing Company Doing for You?

When you take your book to print, you want to make sure that you are getting a professional team that understands your vision and is able to make it a reality. Your book is a product that is very dear to you, and one that you hope to sell to critical acclaim.

In order to do that successfully, you need a fantastic finished product at a price point that will give you the highest profit margin possible. Offset Web Press commercial printing is going to deliver the highest quality trade paperbacks with perfect binding at the lowest cost per unit possible when printing bulk orders.

Types of Printing

Offset Web is the fastest way to complete larger print run orders of 500 units or more.  This printing method uses paper on rolls and inked plates to create the printed sheets. The paper is trimmed and bound in the finishing process. The speed and quality of four color heat-set printing makes this method ideal for creating trade paperbacks with the highest production quality.

Digital short-run printing may be an attractive option for small orders of less than 100 books such as producing galleys and ARCs, but in the long run is a more costly printing method. Running a digital printer requires the same energy usage and overhead cost for one copy or two dozen so there is no way to reduce production costs.

In offset printing, on the other hand, the initial costs is in setting up the plates. Once the printing is running, it is relatively inexpensive to keep the press running and turning out copies. By printing larger quantities at once, set up costs are averaged out per book. This allows the small publishing house to distribute their own print editions with a very attractive profit margin.

Binding and Cover

The perfect binding method used for most trade paperbacks is made when groups of pages, called signatures are glued to the cardstock cover with a flexible adhesive. Perfect bindings are inexpensive and durable, but still create a high quality appearance even for books with a high page count.

The type of stock you choose depends on what you want in a finished product. Coated stock will be glossier and allow for much sharper images because the coating keeps the ink from seeping into the paper.

Uncoated cover stock has a softer, matte finish and will have a fuzzier quality to the design as the ink absorbs into the paper. Both styles of cover stock make excellent covers depending on what you want the finished book to look like, but coating will add some weight to the cover which will effect binding and the printing process.

Get expert help to make these decisions. A knowledgeable team of professionals can guide you to the right options for your project to make sure the final product is the most attractive book with the best possible cost per unit.

Choosing the Right Book Printer in the Northwest

For small publishing houses and even independent authors that want complete control over their book distribution, choosing the right printer to deliver the best value on printing is an important choice. While short run digital printing on demand has enjoyed recent popularity, offset web printing cannot be beat for price and quality.

What is Web Offset Printing?

Web offset printing runs paper through a printing press on rollers and inked plates are used to make impressions on each side. Pages are then cut and bound with paperback Perfect Bindings. While the initial set up to create the plates can add to the printing costs, when running even a modest print run of 500 that cost is still only a small bump in cost per unit.

The ability to print quickly and in large numbers with superior quality printing and bindings, strongly outweighs the startup cost. The paper quality is typically better than digital and produces a better quality finished book.

Advantages Over Short Run

Short Run digital press uses expensive digital equipment with no advantages in the long run to print more books– the overhead costs of the printing remain the same if you print one book or 10,000. There is no price break for printing more copies. This means a fixed profit margin.

With offset printing on the other hand, all the set up costs are in the set-up. After that, it is easy and inexpensive to keep the presses rolling. The more copies you print at once, the cheaper they are per copy as the initial cost gets averaged out. With an established readership or strong marketing prospects, printing in bulk can add thousands to the bottom line.

Time Value of Money

Another factor that helps offset printing keep its price edge over short run printing is the lead time. Because you can expect delivery in six to eight weeks, printers are able to maintain a schedule of jobs and keep the presses running constantly. This helps keep all expenses low. By planning ahead and ordering your printing with enough lead time, you are able to get a discount that isn’t available with digital printing.

Planning is Key

The publishing house or independent author that has a strong marketing and distribution plan is going to come out ahead with web offset printing. With reasonable expectations for sales, and a small upfront investment, the book seller has a higher profit margin by printing in bulk.

Going Local

Using a printer that is located regionally will also keep freight and shipping charges down to a minimum, especially for regional interest books. Keeping your printing local is good for the environment and the economy, but it also means hometown service. In the Northwest, that printer is Century Publishing. The local leader in the Seattle/Spokane area for web-offset printing is committed to spectacular service.

What You Should Look For in a Commercial Printing Company

When it’s time for your business to move out of the neighborhood print shop and upgrade to commercial printing, the choices can be daunting. Finding the right commercial printing company will make or break your project. Choosing the wrong company to work with can set you back in time and money and still produce amateur results for your marketing efforts.

The right printer, on the other hand, can take ownership of your project from start to finish and walk you through the process to superior results. But, how do you find the right printer among so many that want your business?

It’s all about the process

Find a printer that can tell you all about their printing process. You want to work with a team that can explain what to expect and that educates their customers about how commercial printing can work for them. Any printing company that can’t clearly inform you about the printing process should be considered suspect.

Project Ownership

A stellar commercial printer takes ownership of projects from start to finish. The more work that is done in house, rather than being shipped out to a third party vendor, the more ownership the print house will have over the project and the less problems you are likely to have with miscommunications.

Workflow Management

Your printer should have clear specifications for files that are easy to follow and understand. Managing the printing process needs to be as simple as possible. The more that can be handled online, the better, including the proof process.

The Right Details

Bringing your printing project to life doesn’t begin or stop with the printing alone. As much as clients need front end support, the details before delivery are just as important. Finishing your project requires binding, folding, trimming and possibly even bulk mailing services. The more that these services are handled by your printer, the more control they have over it.

Superior Service

From start to finish, working with real professionals, like the experts at Century Publishing, is a whole different experience. The team at Century is committed to making sure you love working with them. They handle every detail of your project and do the heavy lifting for you. Your project from beginning to end will be in the hands of a team you can trust to deliver above the bar, exceptional service. Contact your professional commercial printing team at Century Publishing, they can’t wait to hear from you.

3 Questions to Ask to Find the Right Printer for Your Project

There are many commercial printing companies vying for your business. Deciding which printer to go with can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be armed with a bit of knowledge to help you weigh your options.


One of the first things to consider when contacting commercial printers is if they listen to you. The right business is one that gets your ideas and listens to understand your vision. If a printer seems too busy to give you their full attention when they are trying to win your business, will they change once the order has been placed? Choose the professional team that works start to finish to make your vision a reality.


Understanding just a little about commercial printing will help you determine is a printer is capable of delivering what you need. There are two main types of commercial printing you are likely to run into.

  • Web Offset Press

Web offset press uses paper fed on continuous rolls and then the pages are cut and trimmed in the finishing process. Most often this web press is heat-set which means that the ink is dried quickly using heat during the printing process. Because the ink dries so quickly it is possible to print much faster and use high gloss papers with crisp clear images.

The advantages of Heat-set Web Press is the speed and high quality images, but the set up costs for a print run are higher. If running a large print job, this set up cost averages to very little per unit but for smaller print runs it can add quite a bit to the bottom line.

  • Sheet-fed Press

Sheet-fed printing is a good alternative to heat-set for smaller print jobs. With this option paper is fed one precut sheet at a time. This method is slower and the ink requires time to dry, but it still allows the use of the high-gloss papers. The image quality is comparable to heat-set but the set up costs is typically lower making it a good option for smaller print runs.

If you require more than a couple thousand imprints (or copies) you want to ask your printing team about heat-set printing and make sure they are qualified. If you want only a couple thousand or less, sheet-fed printing might be the option you want to explore.


Finally, ask about the finishing details. Do you need Perfect Binding of the kind that is used for magazines and paperback books or will you need saddle stitching or plastic bindings? If your print shop can’t deliver that final detail with the same professionalism, you need a new printer. Also decide how you want your printed product delivered. If you have a mailing list of qualified leads, it is not necessary to have your printing shipped to you when your commercial printer offers bulk mail service as well. Let professionals package and ship your final print product to your recipients.

Answer these three areas for yourself when you start talking to printers, and narrow the field quickly to only the most professional and capable commercial printers.

Finding the Right Printing Service for your Company

There are three things that should determine what kind of printing service you need for your project: The size of the print run, the detail and quality of the images desired, and the finishing details such as binding and fulfillment. When you weigh your options against what you are looking for, finding the right printer should be much easier.

What’s In a Print

Consider your expected distribution and what the final product should look like, how it should feel in the hand. Real-estate brochures want sharp beautiful photographs, trade publications attract the respect of the industry with professional finishing, and the small publishing house can add physical distribution channels; all with the help of the right printing company and professional team.

With the help of an all-digital interface for uploading files and proof acceptance, your team at Century Publishing makes printing decisions easy.

Types of Printing

The type of printing your project should use is largely determined by the number of printed copies you are receiving. For a larger run, say over 10,000 imprints or copies, the preferred choice is web off-set printing with an entire roll of paper fed through the press at a time. Heat-set web press, in which the ink is dried using heat, is ideal for high volume print runs. The use of UV coatings and high gloss paper allows superior image quality.

Because the ink is dried during the printing process, this is also a much faster production turnaround for high volume from start to finish.

Cold-set web press is a similar process, but because the ink is not force dried, and instead allowed to air dry and absorb into the paper, it does not allow the use of high gloss papers. Correspondingly, this print style has a lower image quality. Set up costs is typically lower making it more attractive for limited print runs, but may not work well when high resolution images are desired.

For smaller print runs, when only a thousand or so imprints are desired, but image quality must remain high, a more attractive option is sheet feed printing. Using this method, the paper is cut to size beforehand and fed into the press one sheet at a time. This allows the use of high gloss paper and coatings unlike cold-set. This method loses some time on the printing and drying but makes up for it with its higher image quality.

Century Publishing is an industry leader in the North West with four color heat-set web printing technology and six color sheet feed capabilities. Let their team of experts help plan the right print run for your next project.

Finishing Options

Everything from trim and coating to the stitching and binding, requires the same attention to detail. The in-house finishing department at Century Publishing fulfills every order with exceptional service. Bulk mailing service helps speed delivery to just where the finished product is needed. For truly stunning magazine printing, the professionals at Century Publishing are the leaders in printing companies in Spokane.