How to Choose Between Offset and Digital Printing

When it comes to printing, there are two separate options: 1. offset or digital printing, and 2. color or black and white interiors. A number of factors influence which form of printing will work best for you and your book.

Color or Black and White Interior

If the interior of your book has color images—even just one—it’ll have to be printed in color. While it’s possible to get a color insert—printing just a few pages in color and having them inserted as a block in the book—printing any part of your interior in color increases the cost of your project. That means the best candidates for color printing are books that truly need it, such as children’s books, coffee table books, and cookbooks.

Once you know what the color treatment of your interior will be, it’s time to decide whether digital or offset printing is right for you.

Digital or Offset Printing

The differences between digital and offset printing are quality, quantity, and printing costs. Offset printing has a different printing method, offering higher quality ink for both color and black-and-white interiors. It can also offer a wider range of book spec options, from spot finishes, to fold-out pages, to unusual trim sizes, and a wider range of paper weights. Offset printing costs more to set up, but typically has a better per-book cost when you print in large quantities (500 books or more).

Which means, if you...

  • need inventory for events like book signings
  • sell books through public speaking or trade shows
  • financed your project through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter
  • are publishing a children’s book and you’d like the opportunity to have it in a bookstore

...offset printing might be perfect for you.

On the other hand, if you…

  • want to start with a small inventory of books
  • don’t want to invest as much upfront
  • don’t use many images or require special features printing might be right for you.

How Mill City Press Helps

Mill City Press has relationships with both digital and offset printers, meaning you’ll get the printer that best suits your needs. If you’re not sure which is right for you, our printing experts can help.

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