Adding a short-run digital print partner to a publisher’s production strategy makes sense

Book publishers face a production dilemma—how many books to print? You can play it safe by overprinting in the traditional offset model and run the risk of tying up capital in unsold inventory and carrying costs, or you can print a smaller quantity with a digital book printer. Short-run digital printing permits publishers to conserve resources by printing in smaller quantities, running inventories tighter, and reacting quickly to demand by quickly reprinting what’s needed.

Printing is a publisher’s single biggest cash outlay, after salaries and facilities costs. It’s important to utilize the best solution for printing the right amount books for your business. Every publisher, large and small, can benefit from partnering with a short-run digital book printer.

How publishers benefit in a digital printing environment:

  • Increase speed to market and respond quickly to demand. Digital print schedules are flexible and typically measured in days, not weeks. `Proofs are typically available same day, and content can be changed or customized quickly.
  • Fast, economical printing without sacrificing quality. Digital book printing is universally accepted and is comparable to offset printing.
  • Tighter control over their supply chain—and profits. Print to order, without overs.
  • Efficient use of resources. Smaller print runs mean less idle inventory, waste, and carrying costs. Reduce the amount of cash tied up in inventory.
  • Reduce or eliminate freight costs. Drop shipping books to their end destination eliminates the shipping and carrying costs of moving books in and out of a warehouse.
  • Opportunity to keep any title in print forever. Never lose a sale or create new revenue streams from backlist titles.

Things to know about digital book printing:

  • Depending on book type, page count, bind style and materials, short run book printing can be cost-effective from 25 to 2500 copies. Find the sweet spot where print quantities and pricing work for your title.
  • Most common binding styles—case bound, perfect bound, wire-O, spiral and saddle-stitch- are available, however enhancements like foil-stamping, Smyth sewing, spot UV, and other finishes are either outsourced or not available in a digital book manufacturing environment.
  • Digital print production is streamlined, efficient and fast. Overhead costs are lower than offset. Publishers may sacrifice some specs for speed.
  • 4-color printing is especially cost effect in short run quantities because plates are non-existent and make-ready costs are a fraction of offset printing.
  • Book storage, order fulfillment, kitting, book re-binding and mailing are just a few of the value-added services available allowing publishers to consolidate their spend and vendor list.

If you’re ready to explore short-run digital print for your book production needs, contact me at , your BR account executive or


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