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Short Run Book Printing: The Gateway to Self-Publishing

A print shop worker binding a short run of books

Digital Technology has made Short Run Book Printing possible

Over the past few decades, more and more independent book creators have chosen to self-publish their works instead of involving a traditional publishing company. One of the primary reasons for this dramatic shift toward self-publishing is the rapid advancement of Digital printing technology. Digital printing has made short run book printing more affordable and eliminated many of the cost barriers that aspiring authors once faced when seeking to publish their book.

Without the invention of Digital printing, Offset printing would be the primary production method available for printing books. Though offset presses are still widely used and renowned for their superior print quality, offset production requires the creation of printing plates. It also involves an extensive set-up process prior to each production run. This means that a large quantity of books has to be produced in order to distribute these upfront expenses across more units, thereby bringing down the per-book printing cost so that a respectable profit can be made.

However, placing an order for 1000, 2000, 5000 or more books at one time requires a substantial cash outlay, not just for the printing but also for the shipping and storage. This would be a common barrier to entry for many new authors, unless they happen to be one of the chosen few to secure a contract with a large publishing house. In that case, the publishing house would pay for the printing. However, the publishing house would then recoup this cost by retaining a large portion of the book's profit, thereby reducing the author's share (yet another reason that explains the popularity of digital self-publishing).

A man lifting some perfect bound books from a stack

Digital Printing is a Self-Publisher's Best Friend

Digital presses can create professionally-printed books without the need for printing plates or an extensive set-up process. The layout files are sent directly to the press for output. This allows print jobs to commence quickly. Also, because there are no real upfront costs like there are with offset printing, the run sizes do not have to be as big. An author can print 100 or 200 books instead of thousands.

Many times, a single book can be printed on a digital press. However, because of the transaction costs involved, the unit cost per book will always be lower when printing a few hundred books instead of printing a single book.

Being able to print lower quantities of books in a cost effective manner is the main reason Digital printing has become so popular with self-publishers. Also, some self-publishers only intend to offer a limited number of books, so digital production is ideal. Even if an author's dream is to ultimately sell thousands of copies of their book, it is still wise to start off with a lower print quantity. This is especially true for first-time authors who do not have any prior book sales on which to judge their popularity.

Plus, smaller print runs will give you tremendous flexibility when first starting out. For example you can make corrections, fine tune the copy, or experiment with different cover designs. Ordering in smaller quantities allows tweaks like these to be made without much fuss. Then once the book's popularity increases you can order larger quantities and take advantage of even lower unit costs.

In fact, once your book takes off and you need to produce thousands and thousands of copies, offset printing will become your new best friend. With offset printing, the unit price comes down dramatically once the quantity of books gets into the thousands. So the day your book's growing sales volume dictates a switch to offset printing from digital printing, that will be the day you'll know you have arrived.

Stacks of Saddle Stitched Books

Color Vision loves to work with Self-Publishers!

As a self-publisher, you will have total control over your book. You'll maintain full ownership rights, get to pick your marketing channels, and keep all profits from the book. You will also get to pick the company that prints your book.

As a full-service printer, Color Vision prints and binds all types of books for Self-Publishers, including comic books, novels, biographies, self-help, how-to, sci-fi, romance, fantasy, and more.

Also, because we have both digital and offset presses, we can assist with your short run book printing needs as well as the longer production runs you may require once demand for your book grows. Plus, because we are a totally custom printer, Color Vision offers just about any book size, binding style, or finishing option you might want.

In addition, we stock a wide array of paper types and can also custom order any specialty paper you request. In regard to ink choices, we can print your books using Full-Color process (CMYK), Pantone Spot colors, Black Ink only, Grayscale, or any combination of these popular color systems.

For the past 40 years, Color Vision has been producing high-quality books at very affordable rates. We have thousands of satisfied customers and hope you will choose us as well.

Why Buy your Books from Color Vision Printing?

  • You will communicate with Real People who are eager to offer help and guidance
  • We are a Totally Custom Printer - your options are virtually unlimited
  • We have Digital and Offset presses to accommodate varying run sizes
  • Extensive Selection of Finishing and Binding Options
  • Friendly and Helpful Staff dedicated to your Success
  • 40 Years in the Printing Business
  • All Books are printed in the USA
  • Excellent Quality and Prices
  • A+ BBB Rating

If you have any questions or want to discuss your book project, just give us a call at 800-543-6299. Or, use our easy Quote Request form to send us the specifications of your project and we will email a quote to you.

The journey into Self-Publishing can be extremely gratifying and we look forward to playing a part in your book's success. Just let us know how we can help!

Related Articles:

Which Process is Better? Digital Printing vs Offset Printing

Self-Published Books: What is an ISBN number? Do I need one?

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