Information on Offset Printing

web and sheet fed printing

Information on Offset Printing

Lithography literally means “writing on stone” and is based on the principle that grease or oil and water do not mix.  It was discovered by Alois Senefelder of Munich, Germany about 1798. A printer term to shorten the Lithography is Offset printing; which is the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate.

Offset Presses

Now that you had your history lesson on the word offset, let’s discuss further the advantages of printing with offset/lithography printing.  There are actually two different types of Offset printing, Web offset and SheetFed offset.  Web offset can be used for short, medium and long-runs, but most of the time it is used for printing longer-run printing; like newspapers, catalogs, books, magazines because it is printed off of rolls of paper. Sheetfed printing is also good for short, medium and long-runs projects; like catalogs, books, posters, trading stamps, coupons and etc. In my experience, the difference is Sheetfed printing produces more detail and better quality then web offset.  95% of our children’s books, coffee table books, cook books, and photo books produced through PRC Book Printing are done on a Sheetfed press.

Both Sheetfed and Web offset printing is an excellent choice for printing in higher quantities. The more copies you produce the cost per copy decreases.  The interiors can be customized by changing the paper color and weight.  Covers can have embellishments such as embossing, foil stamp and die-cutting.  If you are producing hardcover book, coffee table, children books, a photo book which contain a lot of imagery or photos this type of printing offers high image quality then digital printing.

Digital Comparison Offset Presses

Digital printing, offers cheaper low volume printing.  The unit cost of each piece may be higher than offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs.  With digital print or on demand printing, you can produce 1, 100 or even 500 books; however the unit cost will stay the same. However offset printing, the unit cost will decrease as the quantity increases.  Still at this low quantity your cost will be a savings compare to offset printing.  A plus in printing digitally, you have a quicker turn around and you can get a nice book.

Unlike the offset option, the interior paper is limited.  The cover can be glossy, but you cannot have the trimmings such as embossing, foil stamp or die-cutting for your book project.  The digital printing preference is good for self publisher who need only a few books to send out for marketing tests.

Authors and publishers selection on digital printing or offset lithography printing is a decision based on their production needs, turnaround time, and quality.  PRC Book Printing is here to provide advice and options on your book printing desires. Check out our samples on our offset book printing page!

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