In the world of book printing and publishing, there are two main options for producing physical books: print on demand (POD) and offset printing. While both methods have their advantages, offset printing has emerged as the preferred option for producing high-quality books in large quantities.
Below, we will explore why you shouldn’t print on demand and why you should choose offset printing instead. We will discuss the advantages of offset printing over print on demand, including higher quality printing, greater flexibility in book design, cost-effectiveness in large print runs, and faster turnaround times.
We will also explore the drawbacks of print on demand, including lower printing quality, limited paper and cover options, and higher printing costs. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of why offset printing is the better choice for producing high-quality books.
A. Explanation of Print on Demand (POD) and Offset Printing
Before we dive into the advantages and drawbacks of each printing method, let’s first define what print on demand (POD) and offset printing are and how they differ.
Print on demand is a digital printing process that allows publishers and authors to produce books one at a time as they are ordered. With print on demand, there is no need for large print runs or expensive upfront costs, as books are printed only when someone orders them.
POD technology allows for quick and easy customization of book designs and cover options, making it a popular choice for self-publishing authors who want more control over the printing and distribution of their books.
Offset printing, on the other hand, is a traditional printing process that involves creating metal plates of the book’s pages and using those plates to transfer ink onto paper. This process is more labor-intensive and time-consuming than print on demand, but it allows for higher quality printing and greater flexibility in book design.
Offset printing is generally used for large print runs, as the upfront costs are higher than print on demand. However, the cost per book decreases as the number of copies increases, making it a cost-effective option for producing books in large quantities.
Now that we’ve defined print on demand and offset printing, let’s explore the advantages and drawbacks of each method.
Offset printing is the better choice for producing high-quality books compared to print on demand.
While print on demand has its advantages, such as low upfront costs and quick customization options, it falls short in terms of producing high-quality books. Offset printing, on the other hand, offers greater control over the printing process and allows for more precise color matching, making it the superior choice for producing high-quality books.
In the next sections, we’ll explore the specific advantages of offset printing, including the ability to produce vibrant colors, higher resolution images, and more durable and attractive finishes. We’ll also discuss how the cost per book decreases with larger print runs, making offset printing a cost-effective option for producing high-quality books in bulk.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the technical aspects of book printing and how they impact the quality and cost of your books, allowing you to make an informed decision about which printing method is right for you.
II. Advantages of Offset Printing over Print on Demand
A. Higher Quality Printing
Offset printing produces higher quality printing results compared to print on demand. Here’s why:
- Explanation of how offset printing produces higher quality printing results
Offset printing involves the transfer of ink from a printing plate to a rubber blanket and then onto the printing surface. This process allows for greater control over the printing process, resulting in sharper and more vibrant images and text.
With offset printing, the ink is applied to the paper in a smooth and consistent manner, resulting in more precise color matching and sharper lines and details. This is because the ink is transferred directly from the plate to the paper, rather than being sprayed onto the paper as with print on demand.
Additionally, offset printing uses higher quality paper, which can further enhance the overall appearance and feel of the finished product.
- Examples of sharper and more vibrant images and text
Offset printing produces high-quality results that can be seen in the sharpness and vibrancy of the printed images and text. The colors are more precise and vibrant, and the text is sharper and clearer, making for a more visually appealing and professional-looking book.
For example, if you’re printing a book with high-quality images, offset printing will allow the colors to pop and the details to be more defined. This is because offset printing uses a higher resolution than print on demand, which results in more accurate and detailed images.
Offset printing produces higher quality printing results compared to print on demand, thanks to its greater control over the printing process and the use of higher quality paper. This results in sharper and more vibrant images and text, making for a more visually appealing and professional-looking book.
B. Greater Flexibility in Book Design
Offset printing offers greater flexibility when it comes to book design. Unlike POD, offset printing can accommodate a wide variety of paper stocks, including specialty papers like textured or metallic papers, and allows for a wider range of cover finishes like embossing, debossing, foil stamping, and spot UV coating.
Additionally, offset printing allows for more customized layout options such as multiple-page gatefolds, pull-out sections, and die-cut pages. This level of flexibility allows for more creative and visually stunning book designs, making the final product more appealing to readers and enhancing the overall reading experience.
For example, if you are publishing a cookbook, offset printing allows you to choose a heavier paper stock that can withstand splatters and spills in the kitchen. You can also add a glossy or matte finish to the cover to give it a professional and enticing look. Furthermore, offset printing enables you to incorporate unique design elements like recipe cards, pull-out posters, and fold-out sections to make the book more interactive and engaging for readers.
Offset printing provides greater flexibility in book design, allowing for more creative and visually appealing results. By choosing offset printing over POD, publishers and authors can create books that stand out from the rest and capture the attention of readers.
C. Cost-Effectiveness in Large Print Runs
Offset printing is a more cost-effective option when it comes to large print runs. The setup costs for offset printing are higher than print on demand, but once the setup is complete, the cost per unit decreases significantly as the print run increases. This means that the more books you print, the less expensive each individual book becomes.
For example, if you need to print 10,000 copies of your book, offset printing is the way to go as the cost per unit will be significantly less compared to POD. On the other hand, print on demand is better suited for smaller print runs as it has a higher cost per unit.
- Faster Turnaround Time
In addition to higher quality printing and greater flexibility in book design, offset printing also offers a faster turnaround time compared to print on demand.
Offset printing allows for faster printing speeds and drying times for the ink, meaning that larger print runs can be completed in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, because offset printing involves setting up the press and preparing the plates before printing, the actual printing process can be completed more quickly than with print on demand.
Overall, the faster turnaround time of offset printing allows for more efficient production schedules and quicker delivery times for your books.
While print on demand may seem like a convenient option for self-publishers, offset printing remains the better choice for producing high-quality books in large quantities. With its superior printing quality, greater flexibility in book design, cost-effectiveness in large print runs, and faster turnaround time, offset printing is the preferred method of printing for many publishing professionals. So, if you’re looking to print a book that looks and feels like it was produced by a traditional publishing house, consider offset printing as your go-to option.
III. Why You Shouldn’t Choose Print on Demand
While POD has its advantages, there are several reasons why it may not be the best choice for producing high-quality books.
- Lower Printing Quality
One of the biggest drawbacks of POD printing is the lower printing quality. Compared to offset printing, POD printing results in blurry images and text. This is because POD printing uses toner-based printing technology, which doesn’t produce the same level of detail and clarity as offset printing. As a result, the final product may look less professional and polished.
- Limited Paper Options
POD printing also offers a limited selection of paper options. While there are some paper options available, they are often limited in terms of quality and texture. This can limit book design and aesthetic, making it difficult to achieve the look and feel that you want for your book.
- Limited Cover Options
Similarly, POD printing offers limited cover options. This can limit a book’s ability to stand out and attract readers. With limited cover options, it can be challenging to create a design that is eye-catching and unique.
- Higher Printing Costs
Finally, the cost per unit is higher with POD compared to offset printing. While POD is more cost-effective for small print runs, the cost per unit can quickly add up as the print run increases. This can make it less cost-effective for large print runs, where offset printing is the better choice.
While POD printing has its advantages, it may not be the best choice for producing high-quality books. Compared to offset printing, POD printing results in lower printing quality, offers limited paper and cover options, and is more expensive for large print runs. As a result, offset printing is the better choice for those looking to produce high-quality books that stand out and attract readers.
If you want to know more about Offset printing or talk to a representative, contact PRC Book Printing to provide a quote and production timelines by calling 888.659.8320 or request a quote by filling out our online form.