book printing

Book Printers: All the Stats, Facts, and Data You’ll Ever Need to Know

Book printers are a valuable resource for writers looking to publish their work. The right printer can help you create the best possible book possible, and they can also offer advice on how to publish your book as an indie author. Finding the right printer can be challenging, whether you’re writing a novel or a non-fiction book. But don’t worry—this guide will help you find one that meets your needs.

What are book printers?

Book printers are companies that print books. The term “book printer” is often used interchangeably with “publisher.” However, there is a difference between the two terms.

A book printer is only responsible for printing and shipping the book to the publisher. The publisher then takes over and fulfills orders, sets up distribution channels, and sells the book to customers.

Book printers can be divided into two categories: digital and offset. Digital printing is a relatively new technology that allows you to quickly and inexpensively print small quantities of books.

Offset printing, on the other hand, has been around for centuries and remains one of the most popular methods for printing large quantities of books at a low cost per copy (or unit).

Since the digital book printer is a relatively new technology, many people mistakenly assume it’s less reliable than offset printing. However, this isn’t true.

Digital printing allows you to create beautiful books on demand without worrying about minimum order quantities or set-up charges. It also allows you access to a wide variety of paper stocks and colors for your cover design.

Six things to consider before hiring book printers


Hiring a book printer can be intimidating if you’re an author, publisher, or small business owner. The good news is that getting your books printed is better than ever before. But with so many options available to you—and many ways to make mistakes. Knowing what to look for in a quality printer is essential before you sign on the dotted line. Here are six things you should consider before hiring book printers.

1. The type of book you want to print

You’ll need to decide whether you want a hardcover, softcover, or both. Each type of book has its own set of pros and cons:

  • Hardcover books are pricier, but they have a more professional look. They also tend to have better binding quality than their softcover counterparts.
  • Softcovers offer lower costs but can feel less sturdy than hardcovers. This is due to the different types of glue used in their bindings (glue stick vs. resin).
  • Combining the two gives you the best of both worlds: covers that look great and cost less money! If your book contains photos or illustrations, make sure you ask about how these will be printed before selecting this option – some printers may charge extra for printing on folded pages.

If you want to ensure that your book is printed on high-quality paper, ask the printer which grade they use. Most printers will offer options like “coated” or “bright white,” which are better for printing photos and illustrations. This can be a huge factor in determining the overall quality of your finished product.

2. The size of your book

The size of your book will determine the type of binding and printing method you use. If your book is small, for example, just a few pages long, you might be able to print it on an A4 printer with a binding designed for smaller books.

If you want to print a large quantity but don’t have enough money to buy more than one machine at once (or even two), it could be worth considering renting as many printers as possible until they are all full again before moving to another location.

However, this will come with difficulties, so make sure everything else goes smoothly first.

3. The quantity of books you want to print

Before you start working with a book printer, you need to figure out what quantity of books you will need.

The more books you print, the lower per-unit costs are likely to be. If you have a small order of 100 books but have an idea for something bigger and more ambitious, it may make sense to hold off on ordering until after your initial run has been completed.

You’ll also want to figure out how many copies of your book you need. If it’s a novel or biography that won’t sell more than 5,000 copies, it’s probably not worth printing in large quantities.

4. Color options

When choosing your book’s cover or interior, color is king. It will grab your readers’ attention and help you stand out. So how do you know which color to use?

The first step is to consider what the book is about—what kind of story are you telling? For example, if it’s a memoir or historical nonfiction, it might be best to stick with earthy tones like browns and tans.

If it’s more fantasy-based, try bolder colors like reds and purples. When in doubt, look at other books similar to yours on Amazon; they’ll give you an idea of what colors are popular among readers that could work well for yours too!

If you choose a color scheme, it’s essential to remember that different kinds of paper react differently to ink. For example, cream-colored pages tend to have less contrast than white ones; this means they’ll look duller and less crisp on the page. Try using a color that contrasts nicely with your paper so that your book will stand out.

If you’re looking for an even bolder effect, consider using two different colors: one for your text and one for your images. This will make each element stand out more clearly; after all, why not put everything you’ve got into making your book as beautiful as possible?

5. Publication date and delivery options

When deciding on a book printer, it’s essential to consider their delivery options. How long will it take for me to get my books?

Most printers offer overnight shipping, but some may deliver in less than 24 hours or have more affordable delivery methods. When can you expect to receive your books? Some printers promise immediate printing and delivery within 24 hours, while others wait until the next business day.

What is the turnaround time for orders? This is another important consideration when choosing a book printer because it affects how quickly you can start selling your book in stores, online, and elsewhere.

What are their setup fee and run charges per copy? These additional factors affect how much money each order will cost you in total (not just upfront).

You can find this information by reading through their pricing structure or contacting them directly with questions about pricing policies or requirements.

6. Your budget

It’s essential to think about your budget before you start shopping around for book printers. You want to find a printer who can work within your budget and also one that understands the unique needs of self-publishing authors.

That being said, it’s also important not to go overboard on this step! If a printer offers you an attractive price but doesn’t seem the best fit for what you need, don’t be afraid to walk away from them—you’ll find another option in no time.

Once you know what budget range is feasible for yourself or your publishing company, it’s time to think about how much money will be spent on marketing and promotion once the book is printed.

It might be a large expense if there are plans for nationwide distribution or national media appearances (which require travel costs). Make sure that any quote given by potential printers takes this into account!

Seven tips for finding the best book printers

book printers

We’ve all heard the saying, “Write what you know.” And while that’s a good rule of thumb for fiction writers, it doesn’t apply to nonfiction authors. So how can you write about topics that don’t come naturally? Reading every book on your subject and learning everything there is to know about it. You’ll find yourself with a wealth of information you could never have imagined before starting this process.

1. Visit your local bookstores.

If you visit a bookstore and ask the manager about printers, they probably won’t be able to help you. But it’s still worth checking out your local bookstores for inspiration. Look at their bookshelves and see how many were printed in-house or by another local printer.

Visit one or two and tell them that you are looking for a printer for your book project—don’t worry if they don’t have any recommendations. Tell them what you’re looking for (quality, price range), then ask if they have any ideas where else you could look online or locally.

2. Look online.

When looking for the best book printer, there are several factors you should consider. First and foremost, look at the website. Does it have a lot of information about the company and its services? If so, does it look professional?

Do they offer samples of their work to prospective clients? What about testimonials from satisfied customers? If a printer has a portfolio section on its website, check it out! It’s essential to see if they can meet your needs and keep up with deadlines and other expectations.

Next up: customer service! You’ll want to ensure that any printer you’re considering offers quality customer service if anything goes wrong or something doesn’t turn out right at the end (which is always possible). Ask yourself these questions: How responsive are they when you email them with questions or concerns?

Do they respond quickly, or do they take forever to get back with an answer? Are they easygoing or challenging people to deal with over email or phone calls? Because there will inevitably be some back-and-forth conversations once work begins on your project.

3. Check with other authors.

If you don’t know any authors personally, don’t worry. Another way to get the information you need is to ask the author community.

Ask other authors who they use for their books’ printing and binding. You may be surprised how many people are willing to provide recommendations and referrals, especially if you let them know that you’re looking for a printer who will put in the time, effort, and quality control necessary to produce a book that meets professional standards.

Suppose an author recommends a printer with glowing reviews or tells you about their own experience with a printing company that left them very satisfied.

In that case, they’ll likely continue working with these printers in future projects (or recommending them). This can give you greater confidence in their work product than one-off reviews from non-authors who have never worked directly with those companies.

4. Make a list of printers to contact and call.

Now that you’ve got your specifications, it’s time to start making a list of book printers. If you’re going the DIY route, you’ll want to know exactly what kind of printer will best suit your project.

Be sure to look at how big the book will be and which binding options are available (spine or spiral binding, for example). You should also take into consideration things like color options and printing quality.

When deciding on a printer for your self-published work, don’t forget about price—you want to find a place that provides high-quality services without breaking your budget or forcing you into choosing less-than-ideal features from among their choices.

If you’re looking to publish your book as a hardcover, consider the kinds of paper available and what they will mean for your project. Some printers only offer specific covers, so look at all your options before deciding.

5. Email the printers you want to consider and ask questions.

When you’ve found a few book printers to consider, email them to ask questions. Email is the easiest way to get a response quickly. Ask about the details of the estimate they sent you, and make sure it’s clear what they’re offering and how much it’ll cost.

Ask about how long it will take for your book printing process to be complete, when you can expect delivery, and any other vital details about shipping and delivery times (if applicable).

Also, ask about their quality control processes—how do they ensure that each book printed looks precisely like the one in their sample? What kind of machine do they use? How many times does each sheet go through this machine?

What type of paper do they use for printing (e.g., 100# gloss or 70# matte)? And finally, ask if there are any particular types of bindings better suited to certain kinds of books than others.

6. Get estimates from the printers you like.

The best way to do this is to ask for an estimate. As a savvy consumer, you will want to know how much it will cost to make an informed decision about whether or not the printer is worth your business.

You should also get copies of the contract and invoice they send with their estimate. You should always have a copy of these documents in case there are any problems with your order down the road or if something goes wrong and you need help resolving it faster than just having conversations over email or phone calls can provide.

It’s also a good idea to get the price of your order in writing. This way, there’s no question about what was agreed upon and how much you will be charged for any extra work after the initial estimate has been given.

7. Look at the details of each estimate – what is it included?

As you work out the details of each estimate, you’ll want to look closely at what each estimate includes. Most book printers will have a base price for printing and binding (sometimes called print on demand).

Some book printers will also include distribution in their pricing, while others will not. If you’re not sure which is suitable for your project, ask your printer what they can offer in terms of distribution.

Additionally, ensure you understand the costs associated with shipping books from the printer to final destinations.

This can vary widely depending on whether or not a distributor will be involved with getting your books out into the world; if so, shipping costs are often included in their fees; if not—you may be responsible for them yourself!

Frequently asked questions

book printers

If you want to print your book, it’s essential to know what’s possible and what isn’t. Here are answers to your frequently asked questions about book printers.

How long does it take to print a book?

When you’re printing a book, it usually takes anywhere from three to six weeks to complete. The length of time will depend on how many copies you order and the size of your book. Printing one copy can take up to four weeks while printing thousands of copies at once can be done much quicker.

While we have multiple printers and can do several print jobs simultaneously, some aspects still require more time than others. For example:

  • The more pages your book has, the longer it’ll take us to get through them all. If you have a 500-page novel with lots of illustrations and photos, and if we’re looking at getting at least 2 or 3 printed copies, expect this process to take closer to six weeks rather than two or three!
  • Shorter books tend to print faster and cost less money overall because they don’t use as many resources in production (i.e., paper). A 250-page novel may cost twice as much per page compared to an equivalent 300-page novel due, mostly due partly because paper costs per page decrease significantly when using fewer pages overall!

How many copies of my book can be printed at once?

The number of copies you can print at once depends on the size of your book. For example, a 5″ (12.7 cm) by 8″ (20.3 cm) book with a page count of 200 can print 500 copies, but a 5″ (12.7 cm) by 8″ (20.3 cm) book with a page count of 300 can only be printed 250 times at once. 

It’s best to have this information before printing so that you know how many books you’re ordering without being surprised by it after making a significant investment in the project!

Suppose you want your book to be hardcover instead of softcover. In that case, the maximum number of prints will be fewer than if just softcover – this is because there are more materials involved in making hardcovers than there are for their softer counterparts!

Suppose one wants to ensure they aren’t wasting money on extras like extra paper stock or binding procedures. In that case, it might help them think twice before going with these types of publishers who don’t offer enough information upfront about what they need.

What kinds of paper can I use to print my book?

Paper is one of the most critical components of a book printing project. The paper you select will determine how your readers perceive your book, so it’s essential to find out what types of papers are available before you begin designing.

Here are some things to consider when choosing paper for your project:

PaperweightThe weight refers to the thickness of each sheet in pounds (gsm). Lighter weights are better suited for books that have fewer pages and are meant for inexpensive distribution, while heavier weights work well with longer books that need to endure repeated use or storage.
Paper colorPaper can be white or natural (called “off-white”). White usually works best for text because it allows more light; however, natural can be beneficial if there is an area on the page where darker colors would make too much contrast against white text (e.g., a barcode).
Paper finishThis refers to how smooth or rough you want the outside surface of your pages: bright white matte finishes provide a high-quality feel but tend not to show much reflection; textured uncoated papers have less glare than glossier options but may show fingerprints easier; coated papers protect against smudging and offer vibrant color reproduction; lamination protects printed materials from water damage but creates additional cost per page due to extra coating layers applied during manufacture; digitally printed files can also include customized covers which might come with their protective coatings depending on intended use conditions such as exposure outdoors in direct sunlight over periods longer than just short trips around town each day.


You may not know it, but printing your book is probably the most crucial step in the publishing process. Choosing a book printer with proper references and experience can make or break your book. They hold power to destroy a good story and manuscript by creating poor-quality books, and they can also help you smooth out printing hiccups through fast action and personalized attention.

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