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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.

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.