Book Printing Services & More

Do you need book printing services? Despite the rise of e-books, many self-publishing authors will want to see their book in print.

Besides the sentimental attachment we may feel toward print books, there are many reasons to produce physical copies of your book. Print books are helpful for marketing, and for giveaways to readers.

Why Book Printing Services?

A printed book allows you to provide signed copies which can be enticing to many potential readers, providing a sense of personal connection with the author. The price comparison can make the e-book look like an even better deal, if the print book is 12 dollars, and the e-book is 5, for example.

That comparison price won’t appear on sales pages without a print book available. Print books themselves can sell surprisingly well, especially for non-fiction. Some people want a print book, and many readers don’t read e-books at all.

Yet, traditional printing can become expensive quickly. One important decision is whether you want your book available in bookstores, or whether it is sufficient to have a print book available online.

Back in 2015, the Bookseller reported that online sales had overtaken in-store print sales, so you may want to consider more affordable options that make your book available online. Printing your book will also allow it to go on file with the Library of Congress, and for you to file with copyright.gov.

Traditional Print Runs

A traditional print run can be risky. This would entail having a specific number of books printed ahead of time, at a substantial cost. This can be worth looking into in certain circumstances. If the visual quality of the final product is important, in the case of hardcover or special editions, a print run is worth considering.

If you have an established method of distribution, such as speaking events or a place to sell your books (if you are a chiropractor with an office, for example) printed copies may really pay off, but if you have any doubt about distribution a print run could be financially risky.

Print on Demand

Print-on-demand (POD) is a relatively new option for print books in the age of the e-book. You supply a company with digital files, and one copy will be printed each time a customer places an order on a site like Amazon.

This means no upfront printing costs, no warehouse or inventory costs, no shipping costs or the hassle of personally going to the post office to ship books, and no leftover books.

Many POD services are free to publish, simply charging a portion of each sale. With Amazon Prime, these books can arrive even faster than traditional print-run books.

In recent years, the potential quality of POD books have improves substantially, with special paper, full-color, and hardcover options available. It is truly a revolutionary concept for self-publishing authors, allowing for print-books without a risky investment of thousands of dollars.

Print on Demand Services

There are two main choices for POD services: CreateSpace.com and IngramSpark.com.

CreateSpace, which is run by Amazon, is a good option for authors who depend primarily on e-book sales, but who want a print option for customers. CreateSpace will put your book into all the right online catalogs, making it available for bookstores to order as well as available online to customers.

But, many bookstores won’t stock books from CreateSpace.

If having your book available in traditional bookstores is a priority, consider Ingram Spark. Additionally, Ingram Spark offers options such as hardcover, embossing, and other special printing options not yet offered by CreateSpace.

Ingram Spark also allows returns, which is necessary to be sold in a traditional bookstore. Remember, bookstores take a 40 to 50 percent discount. This, and the possibility of returns, makes print publishing difficult without large volumes.

So make sure you’re making the right choice for your book.

The Alliance of Independent Authors recommends using both services, with CreateSpace for Amazon and Ingram Spark for wider distribution.

What You Will Need for Book Printing Services

To use POD services you will need an interior print file, a cover file, and an ISBN.

An interior print file is your book in a format ready to print. Both services provide templates into which you can simply input your book’s text. You can also hire a professional to create this file, saving time and avoiding problems.

A cover file will include the front, back, and spine for your book. Your cover will be printed on different paper from the rest of the book, and it has to include the spine – the width of the book – so work with a professional on this!

ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, can be provided by these services for free, or you can use your own number, issued by companies such as Nielsen in the UK or Bowker in the US. The Alliance of Independent Authors recommends authors use their own ISBN.

Book Printing Services Binding Options

You may be given binding options, such as saddle stitched, case bound, or case wrapped. Most commercial books, though, use what is called perfect binding, in which pages are stacked and glued, and then glued to the inside of the cover.

This will almost always be the best option for a book that looks and feels professional.

With the explosion of popularity e-books have seen in recent years, printing can seem antiquated. But for many authors, it can offer another level of success.

And with the rise of POD options, this can be accomplished at a cost that self-publishers can afford.

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