By Mike Daniels, MPA

When it comes to short run printing (500 copies or less) I like to recommend the use of digital inkjet or toner color digital press production when a publisher has color images they want to place throughout their book. If a book will contain a certain number of color photos or illustrations and the publisher wants to use a heavier 80lb coated paper (matte or gloss), there are considerable savings to be realized on the cost of manufacturing if they elect to print via digital production rather than offset production for lower quantities.

A publisher can produce 100 copies of a color book with trim sizes up to 8.5 x 11 (portrait or landscape) and perfect bind them rather than saddle-stitch with low page counts using 80lb coated text paper and a 12pt laminated cover for just a few hundred dollars. There is a big difference between short run, quick-turn digital production and quintessential Print-on-Demand (POD) offered by the likes of Amazon’s Create Space  or Lightning Source, etc. who don’t offer the same level of quality that can be realized with short run digital production. In addition, there are other factors to be weighed when deciding to print a book as POD instead of short run Digital and it’s important to explore the realities of both options relative to the expectations of the publisher.

By producing a shorter print run, the author/publisher is able to have books in hand quickly, usually within two weeks, from uploading files and then use those copies either as “ARCs” (Advance Reader Copies) for marketing the title while a higher quantity offset production run is at press or for immediate retail sales to begin to see profits from their efforts without breaking the bank and having to store thousands of books. Whether a publisher decides on digital or offset production, it’s essential to create a professionally designed book regardless of how many copies are to be printed. Digital color or black & white short run, quick-turn  production allows any independent, small publisher to produce good quality books quickly and begin generating revenue to see a return and profit on their investment without having to sell a lot of books.

Mikey in BowtiePost by Mike Daniels. Mike Daniels is The Publisher’s Coach, who provides strategic and creative guidance to authors and publishers to help publish and market their books. With over two decades of professional book industry experience assisting authors and publishers of all genres and sizes nationwide, Mike is also a published author and independent publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Peaks & Planes magazine, a Past President of CIPA and co-founder and President of the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation. Reach him at PH: 303 674-7070 or 720 261-3880 and at [email protected]