Self-publishers book printing: sheetfed press, web press, digital output.
Self publishers book printing is the term we are using to encapsulate the various methods of book printing. First of all, presses (or a digital output device) come in all sizes and capabilities. They are made by different manufacturers, and the machinery cost is wide ranging, as is the age of the machinery. The press person’s capability and experience is another indicator of quality book manufacturing, but that is for another post.
Machinery for self-publishers book printing is commonly:
Self-publishers need to know: sheetfed presses print real ink on large sheets of paper, one sheet at a time.
The best method for beautiful self publishers book printing can only be made possible on a sheetfed press. Here again, there are all different kinds of sheetfed presses, and they come with different capabilities.
This is a good place to point out that we print on 6-color sheetfed presses. They print the four CMYK inks used in process color printing. Quite often one of the six trays on press is put to use for a varnish, or a spot color ink.
Most importantly, we print on very large sheets of paper stock, not individual pages like you get with output devices. We call each sheet a signature after the sheet is folded. The page count of a signature can vary depending on sheet size, page size, and press specifications.
Sheetfed printing is the only way to go for color books and discriminating authors.
We fold the sheet several times we make signature booklets. Then we assemble the booklets together to form the text block. After that, we bind the text block, and there are various methods to bind books. Because we produce high-quality printing on sheetfed presses, there is an initial press set-up cost. So, our minimum for hardcover books is 1,000 copies, and 2,000 copies for soft cover books.
Compare our unit cost which is very low for high-quality self publishers book printing!
Self-publishers need to know: web presses print real ink on rolls of paper and the end result is never the quality of that a good, process color sheetfed press can produce.
Authors really want to avoid web presses – especially for high-quality color books – as in self publishers book printing needs. Why? Because web presses are typically in use for larger runs, but that is not the only reason. The paper stock is on rolls, not sheets. Printing by not be exact. Most commonly web presses are printing magazines and newspapers, even large run direct mail letters or other components.
Web presses are cheaper to run, which is perfect to produce cheap products like newspapers or direct mail. But, a process color book? No way. Having a great book design is not enough. Having wonder paper stock is not enough. If the press is not adequate for the job, self-publishers are wasting their money. Besides, for how much more can you sell a fine quality book?
Digital Output Devices.
Self-publishers need to know: digital output devises will simply output your book a page at a time. The soft cover binding is not bad, unless you have a lot of pages. The hardcover is simply unacceptable and not up to professional publishing standards.
The only time I recommend printing on demand, is if an author has a one-color novel, needs only a few books, and doesn’t care about quality. Digital output devices might also run limited color, but be advised that the color may be poor, or not what you expect.
Even manufacturers say these are ‘printing’ machines or ‘presses’. But, the fact is that they are photocopiers with more bells and whistles. They output toner on paper – dry ink’ or inkjet – not real ink that is used in offset printing.
Toner smears. Ink does not.
To sum it up, sheetfed printing is the only way to go for color books and discriminating authors.
Printing on sheetfed press is what we do and we bind books with exceptional care. Self publishers bonk printing is our specialty, as is offering many options that authors cannot find elsewhere.