On-demand printing vs book printing on offset, sheet fed presses.
Is on-demand book printing less expensive than printing on press? Overall, for a handful of books, yes, but the unit costs are higher and the quality is not as good as what we print on press. If you are taking books around to bookstores, they are keenly aware of the quality difference between on-demand and high-quality printing on press. I stress “quality.” They know. They work with all kinds of books all the time and many are against taking on any on-demand books.
Are on-demand printers worth it? Higher unit cost, low quality, but you can output fewer books. Like many self-publishers, you may be confused about what it really means to print high-quality books on press. You think on-demand may be more advanced. Technology cannot do what we would like it to do! Here are the facts:
Printing on press in Asia with SPB.
Our minimum is 2,000 soft cover books when printing in Asia (only high-quality books). We never print in China because of cost and quality concerns. The reason is because we print books on commercial printing presses, in signatures, with real ink. There is a basic nut to crack when printing on press, so those basic costs have to be covered. But, that is how you can get high-quality books printed on press at a reasonable cost. No print on-demand printers here!
Quality and cost! We print in Asia and the select group of book printers we use are proven. We’ve been in business since 1999, and print higher quality books and at a lower cost than in the USA.
Our hardcover book printing is high-quality, low unit cost, and an are of excellent quality.
The cost to print 1,000 hardcover books is about the same as printing 2,000 soft cover books, only you can sell a hardcover at a higher retail price, making more profit per copy.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about selling 2,000 soft cover books; only 1,000 hardcover books. Besides, don’t you want to be your own publisher, control your book’s printing process, instead of using print on-demand publishers?
How much could you charge for a 200-page soft cover book? How much could you charge for a 200-page hardcover book? Whichever you choose, make sure that you put a high retail price on it, as Amazon knocks off about a third from your retail price, and then takes another 15 percent for just listing your book on Amazon.
The “Look Inside” feature costs a bit more, but it is well worth it. That’s because buyers are more likely to buy a book if they can read the Table of Contents, and see a few pages.
Book printing in USA with SPB.
While we can print 350 to 500* copies of a 200-page soft cover book in USA, and print only 350, the total cost to do so is higher than printing overseas.
On-demand printing, not not with SPB.
Your only other solution if not printing on press is on-demand printing, perhaps with print on-demand publishers. We can do POD, but seldom do after we explain the facts to our clients. POD is when the book pages are output a page at a time on an output device, similar to a copier. It is toner on paper. Color can be way off too.
- The unit cost is high when using on demand book printing; the ink is not ink, it is toner. Toner smears if you wipe a moist finger across it.
- The paper quality is poor compared to what we use, and depending on various print on demand publishers.
- The binding of individual pages is just glue, not Smyth sewn. The only other thing a provider can sometimes do is a side-sewn seam. But, sewing on the side — through all the pages about a quarter inch from the spine — makes the book harder to open, therefore harder to read.
- SPB prints in signatures like booklets, and Smyth sewing is what amounts to the narrow booklet spine together for all of our larger page count books. Many of our smaller books are also Smyth sewn, especially childrens books.
- On-demand printing providers will “output” book pages with toner, a page at a time. Be aware that it is not printing with ink on press — in signatures — as book manufacturing is done with Star Print Brokers. Some providers will print a few hundred copies on press. We can guarantee that they won’t be the quality of printing or binding that we provide at SPB.
- Because of poorer quality with print on demand publishers, authors most often need to drop their retail price.
The worst scenario is when printers “gang print” books. That is when your book prints on press with other titles at the same time. They simply cannot provide accurate color for every title. Which book do they choose to ensure good process color? Is it yours?
If you use an on-demand service, do you actually get your book into brick-and-mortar bookstores, or just have access to those bookstores? If you have your own ISBN and barcode, you already have access to brick-and-mortar bookstores. You are in the database.
It’s up to you! Please let us know what you decide to do, book printing with SPB, using print on demand publishers and on demand book printing. Better yet … request a quote from Star Print Brokers.
* Not 200 copies, as there is still a minimum nut to crack to print high-quality on press.