With a myriad of digital options to choose from for printing books, offset web printing still cannot be beat in almost every instance. Unless you are looking to print a galley for proofing or a few books in to send to publishers, if self publishing, in the long run your web printer will save you money for book printing of the most reasonable quantities.
In addition to saving money, even with iGen covers which will accept UV coating, the one thing you need to consider with most short run book printing digital shops is the binding. Unlike PBD, many of these shops depend on the utilization of a small book binder purchased for the hand binding of small runs. Unless they know what they are doing and are using appropriate glues, such as PUR glue or similar, you may experience binding problems with short run book printing that you would not with a web printing press. This becomes especially important the wider the spine with larger page counts.
Let’s talk money! When costs are an issue and when are they not these days, and if you require a few hundred books in order to self publish, then the benefit of using a book printer with a web press will afford you some excellent pricing even at very small runs. Now this also varies with different book printers, as each will have differing press efficiency, but many as we, can print 500 books cost effectively on a web press, especially if a larger page count.
One of the tenants of commercial printing that I try and pass on to clients is that they should print for the long haul requirement of that which they are printing. In other words if you want to print a book, then before you self publish, hopefully you have a marketing strategy down pat, otherwise why bother? If you cannot market it you cannot sell it. Therefore with that strategy in mind, knowing how many promotional you will need for reviews, distributors, sellers and more, along with having sufficient quantities for sale on your website or back of the room speaking engagements, you will know what your book printing requirements are. I don’t know about you, but one thing that usually stops me dead in the tracks is this phrase: “Allow six to eight weeks for delivery”. When a purchaser is ready to make a purchase, many times it is a spur of the moment decision and “they want it when they want it”, which means now. Therefore you would be wise to have sufficient stock on hand and not rely on POD to fulfill orders, which if you are capable of selling books may be well more expensive than if you produced yours on a web press.
Another thing to consider is; are you a believer and hopefully with good reason that your book is capable of significant sales? The downside of POD is that every book produced is hemmed in by a click charge to Xerox or Canon thus not allowing you any significant savings as the quantities rise, thereby keeping your unit price virtually constant. With an offset web printing press for books, the price drops like a brick for the unit cost per book as you increase your run. In other words, if your cash flow permits and you can sell them, once the press is running, it is cheap by comparison to digital book printing to let the press run. It is always wiser to print more than less on a web printing press, with the start up costs being about a third of the run. If you print too little and need more copies you are magnifying your unit costs by an unnecessary and large amount. The reason is that your start-up costs are once again factored into the printing.
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