Self-Publishing - Printing Methods




If you chose to go with Print, you’ll have to decide on the method of delivery for your books. There are two basic flavors here: Offset and POD.

Offset Printing:
With this method, you’ll work with a printer that works in large batches. What that means is, you’ll order a set number of books, and the printer will print them in one run and ship them to you.

The benefits of this printing process are:
High quality printing.
Lower “Per Book” costs.
Greater flexibility in paper, color, and trim sizes.

The negatives of this printing process are:
Additional shipping and warehousing costs
Limited distribution. (You are your own distributor in most cases.)
High initial investment. (You pay for the lot of books upfront.)
Error correction is costly. (Mistakes mean new print runs and additional costs.)

Reasons to use this method:
Depending on the type of book you’re looking to produce, you may need the additional paper, color, and trim options that offset printing can offer you. Let’s say you have a full color book. You’ll want the high quality and color options. POD while good, will not be able to give you the best result here. Let’s say you are a public speaker and you use your book as a tool (generally for nonfiction) at speaking engagements. It’s better to have a bulk stock on hand for this and because of the lower “per book” cost, this could save you money in the long run. 

Reasons to avoid this method:
The single biggest reason to avoid this method of printing is distribution. Warehousing and shipping cost aside, the distribution is where you make money, or not. People buying books aren’t going to hunt you down. They go to their usual place, be it bookstore or online, and look at the bookshelves. If you’re not there, they won’t buy your book. Without some kind of connection to a distribution channel like Ingram (Baker & Taylor for libraries), to get your book onto shelves, customers aren’t going to see your work. In most cases, your books will be in your garage or storage unit, and you’ll be the one going to each bookstore to request they shelve your work.

POD – Print on Demand
At one point in time, POD had a bad reputation for quality. It was thought of as quick and dirty. Today, however, that has changed. Most small press publishers (and even some larger ones) now use POD technology to print books because they are more economical. What POD means is that your book isn’t printed until someone orders it (Print On Demand). Because it does not exist (in a physical form) until someone buys it, there is no need for additional warehousing costs.

The benefits of this printing process are:
No warehousing costs.
Lower initial investment. (You pay setup fees instead of bulk buying)
Error correcting is easy. (You can upload new files as needed and they will replace the file your printer uses to print the next book ordered.)
Generally linked with a distribution channel (Ingram and Baker & Taylor)

The negatives of this printing process are:
Higher “per book” costs.
Limited choice in paper, colors, and trim size.

Reasons to use this method:
With a lower initial investment (only having to pay setup fees), your book is cheaper to create. Add to that the benefit of belonging to a distribution network, like Ingram and your book will also have instant visibility. I use Lightning Source for my printer and through their network, my books are available at Barnes & Noble & Amazon.com with no additional setup. Lightning also offers you placement in the UK and Europe with just a click of the mouse.  That puts my books in places where readers might be looking. We’ll discuss more about the two big competitive printers in a later chapter. The main point I’m making here here, is easy access, lower setup, and visibility will make your job easier. You still have a lot of work to do, but this option is probably going to be best if you’re just starting out.
Read more tips and tricks in my handy dandy little guide.

Available exclusively on Kindle!

Comments

Print said…
I think this is a great way to lower costs! Thanks.