When you choose to print out physical copies of your self-published book, it’s important to find the right book printing service that works for you. A book printing service is a company that will take your digital manuscript and convert it into a physical copy of your book. These services are not publishing companies—they offer neither marketing nor editorial services.
There are an overwhelming number of book printing services in the United States alone—surpassing 30,000!—and it can be stressful for an indie author to decide what to choose.
There are two primary methods of book printing: Offset Printing and Print-On-Demand services. The first step to choosing the best book printing service is to know the differences between them.
1. Offset Printing
Offset printing is bulk printing. If you want a large number of copies of your book at once, offset printing is the best choice for you. This type of printing often helps in reducing the per-book cost—the more books you order, the lower the printing cost. For instance, if the printing cost per copy is $5 if you’re ordering in a bulk of 500, it would reduce to about $3 per copy if you’re ordering in a bulk of 1000. Hence, you will have a higher profit margin. Offset printing also allows you to have fancy designs for your hardcovers.
The downside to offset printing is that you need to pay a large amount upfront, before you even have buyers for your books. Therefore, it’s important to be completely certain about your readership before you get into offset printing. Additionally, you need to have storage space to store the stack of books, while also handling the task of shipping the books out to buyers.
2. Print-On-Demand (PoD)
When you choose a print-on-demand service, your book will be printed only when someone places an order, one copy at a time. There are many advantages to this: when copies are printed only when there is a buyer, you don’t have to worry about storing or fret about the number of copies that will be left out, and hence wasted. You also don’t have to pay a large amount of money upfront because the cost of printing will be deducted from the sale price at the time of sale. Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is one of the most famous print-on-demand services for self-published authors.
The downside to choosing PoD services is the quality of the printed books. While the technology used in printing these books is getting better, the quality hasn’t caught up to the standards of offset printing yet. Moreover, PoD doesn’t offer a fancy finishing for hardcovers, like embossing, spot gloss UV, or color photo inserts.
In order to decide which one of these printing services will be best suited for your self-published book, ask yourself these questions: what is the budget I can allocate for printing? Do I need both paperbacks and hardcovers? Do my books require pictures with high resolution, or embossed covers? Ho much am I willing to spend on paper quality and binding? Will I have a significant number of buyers, or will I have a stack of unsold books sitting in my basement?
Choosing to go print instead of sticking to ebooks alone might seem like a lot of work, but there’s no better feeling than holding your own book in your hands!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.