The Different Methods Of Commercial Book Printing

With all the time and effort you have invested in writing or compiling your book you will want to ensure that it is printed in the style and look that you want – and, whilst home printing has vastly improved in recent years, if you want to produce high volumes of your books in a quality that befits your finished product, then the smart choice is to use a commercial book printer.

Here is some information on the options and benefits:

What is commercial printing ? 

Commercial printing refers to the process of producing printed items and materials in bulk for business purposes – it is a tool used in the production of a vast range of printed products such as catalogues, brochures, flyers, leaflets, calendars, posters and any other print marketing or advertising materials.

Aside from businesses, commercial printing is ideal for the printing of books. This is due advanced printing methods involved offer high-quality graphics, unique designs and lettering, and images in vibrant colours.

Types of commercial printing 

There are different types of commercial book printing available: 

Offset printing 

This is the traditional book printing method – offset printing uses ink and a printing press. Four ink colours – CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) – are traditionally used for the book cover, whilst the inside pages are usually produced with black ink on large sheets of paper folded into signatures.

The benefits of offset printing are:

Cost – Offset printing is very cost-effective when producing large quantities of books as the more copies you print, the lower the cost of each individual unit or book. This is because the major financial cost in this process is in the initial set-up – to make offset printing cost-effective and viable in practical terms, you would realistically need to produce a print run of a minimum of a thousand copies.

Quality – Offset printing allows you to dictate your book size, paper type and the binding finish you prefer, thus allowing flexibility and the quality control to produce exactly the book you want.

Digital printing 

Digital book printing is the more modern printing method producing books on high-quality laser and inkjet printers. The pages are printed on high-quality paper stock, whilst cardstock is more commonly used for the full-colour book covers. This method lends itself more to short print runs and is ideal for on-demand book printing of single copies upwards.  

Cost – Each individual copy is more expensive per unit than traditional printing, but as the set-up costs are minimal, and each copy costs the same amount to produce regardless of the number of copies required, it is a cheaper option.

Quality – Digital printing does not offer the same number of options with regards to trim size and paper types as offset printing, but all the standard sizes and most requested formats are available. Very occasionally, the colours used in the print may vary slightly on any given day, but not enough to affect the quality or appearance of the printed item.

Printing methods comparison 

Which print method you choose would largely depend on your book printing requirements – if you want to print in large quantities and need a specific paper size or trim for your book, then offset printing may be your choice.

Alternatively, if you want to produce a print run in smaller quantities – like many self-publishers require – and are happy for your books to be a standard size, then digital book printing is probably the preferable option.

Digital printing is also ideal to produce initial advance copies to test the market and allows you to switch up to the more traditional printing method if demand justifies it.