Printing

We will format your manuscript into a digital file of the format required for the delivery medium e.g. Hard-copy (printed) sheaf of paper, MS-Word file etc, into :

  • Digital files for Publishing by Print On Demand or Traditional Printing (more…)

Printing (Traditional)

The process of printing can be a minefield that Syngeus can lead you safely through. Printers vary in the equipment they use, the systems that they use and the price that they quote for the same job. How do you know exactly which quote will work out to be the best?

The printing industry has its own conventions and standards and if you don’t know what these are you may not get the final product that you hoped for. There are also different printing processes – lithographic or digital? What are the differences? Which would be appropriate for your book? How do I know a good printer from a poor one? How many copies should be printed? What will reprints cost?

Authors should be aware of the differences between printing ‘on demand’ and printing copies in advance.

Print on Demand (POD)

Full details

With a POD book, no copies exist until someone buys one, at which point the book is printed and sent to the customer. POD books are thus almost exclusively sold through online retailers. The book trade works on a sale or return basis, so bookshops will rarely if ever pay to have copies of a POD book printed in the hope that they will then sell them.

POD is thus not only a form of printing, it is also a form of distribution.

At Syngeus we regularly use a wide range of printers nationwide, each with their own strengths, so we can take over that lengthy hunt for the right printer at the right price for your book. We can also advise on the correct form of print.

A Traditional printer usually sets a minimum print run of 500 or more copies…some printers will agree to do runs as low as 100….the more books you print, the cheaper the unit cost. For example, printing 100 copies of your book might cost you £10.00 per book. However, printing 1,000 copies might reduce the price to £6.00 per book. Printing 2,500 might reduce the price to £3.00 per book. Of course, you’d rather pay £3.00 per book, but do you have £7,500 to spend up front ?

Typically, a paperback book of 60,000 words on standard grade paper, in full colour, will cost approximately £6 per copy to print on demand…a reduction of 10% is usually offered for volume sales of 100 copies, for example to provide you a small stock to take to a private (i.e. not at a High Street bookstore) book-signing event, or as give-aways for a promotional event. The same book in hardback would cost approximately £8 per copy to print on demand.

The Publisher’s Side of the Print on Demand Equation
Print on demand suppliers (PODS), like Lightning Source, maintain databases of books on behalf of their publisher clients. Publishers submit books to the print on demand supplier (PODS) in the form of two files for each book: one digital file for the book interior and one digital file for the cover.

When the files first arrive they are logged into the PODS system, examined for technical errors, and a proof copy of the book is created for the publisher and the Authour to review. Once the publisher and Authour  sign off on the proof, the book is listed by the PODS throughout its distribution channels including booksellers, other offline and online retailers, chain stores, library suppliers, and in some cases exporters.

Printing your own book is a personal process and, whilst we’d all love an endless list of customisation options which reflects your creativity and personality to a tee, there are limits you should consider. Whether you’re writing a novel, creating your own adult colouring book or detailing your memoirs: you need to remember these four points:

  • What type of paper are you going to use?
    There is an entire range of paper types you could choose from when you’re considering how to make your own book. However, the type of book you’re printing plays a huge part in this thought process.For example: a romance novel which consists mainly of plain, mono (black and white) text, would best suit a cream or plain white paper – typically with a lower gram (referred to as GSM) such as: 70, 80 or 90gsm. Find out what types of paper we offer which you could use in your own book.
  • Which choice of book binding do you think will look best?
    Binding your book is, again, subjective to the type of book you’d like to print. Below you’ll find a list of book binding options available with Printondemand, coupled with what type of book works best with this option.

    • Saddle-stitched booklets (the art of binding a book with staples instead of glue): comic books, adult colouring books, children’s books
    • Paperback books: novels, academic journals, fiction and non-fiction etc.
    • Hardback books: this type of binding is expensive but offers a particularly prestigious feel. (I’ll cover the costs of printing your own book later in the article). I would recommend using this type of binding for single book printing, rather than larger on demand book printing. Something like personal memoirs or a lengthy story book would work well here.
    • Wire-O bound books: music books, notepads, comic books.
    • Spiral bound books: very like wire-o bound books, however, this type of binding would be better for calendars and diaries.
  • Have you measured out the spine width on your book?
    This is the most frequently overlooked (yet important) aspect of printing your own book. Too often authors and book publishers forget to include this calculation and end up with a huge sad-face once they realise their minimum page count doesn’t create a spine width suitable for the type of book they’ve written.
  • Which size will be best for printing your own book?
    The size of your book should be dependent on the type of book you want to print. There are more common book sizes throughout the industry which you can choose from. Obviously, this is your own book and we can’t dictate which size works best for the type of book you want to print

Advantages for the publishers include:

  • eliminates the need to keep books in inventory
  • allows books without substantial sales to stay in print
  • vastly reduces the investment needed to maintain a large backlist
  • eliminates the waste and expense of pulping thousands of unsold books.

Disadvantages for the publishers are:

  • digitially printed books cost more per unit than books printed offset
  • digital printing is not efficient for books that will sell in volume
  • digitial printing’s quality and flexibility of formats is not as good as offset printing.

The Distribution Chain

Scenario: The title is now listed for sale to all wholesalers and retail outlets. If the book is of sufficient interest it may be stocked in advance of orders. In this case, these “preordered” books do not differ from books produced and distributed by other means. The advantage in the distribution chain is that any number of books, even a very small number, can be ordered for restocking at any time. However, the title may not be stocked in the distribution chain at all, but remain as a listing available for order.

The Book Buyer
An interested buyer may find the book in an online listing, for instance at an online retailer such as Amazon.com or BN.com. The buyer places an order and, if the book is not physically stocked at the retailer’s warehouse, the order is sent back up the distribution chain to the PODS.

Computers at the PODS pull the correct files for the book’s cover and interior text block and send them to the appropriate digital printers. The two parts may bear barcodes that allow the PODS printing system to automatically match the cover correctly to the interior.

The two elements come together in the automated binding process, where the back of the book is trimmed and the cover glued onto the spine. The entire book is then trimmed to size and is ready for shipment to the retailer who placed the order, or, in some cases, directly to the customer.

This tightly integrated supply chain is a basic feature of the print on demand book distribution model. It allows books to be printed for a consistent unit cost regardless of how many are ordered.

The Revolution is upon us
Commercial digital printing has given us the print on demand book distribution model, and it is in the process of changing the book publishing industry.

Although most books are still printed by offset, print on demand makes it unnecessary to invest thousands of dollars in printed books before a market for the book is established. In some cases this eliminates much of the economic risk involved in book publishing.

If good quality manuscripts—or previously printed books—are available, there is little reason to not put them into distribution. And for small publishers, independent publishers and self publishers, print on demand book distribution has democratised the publishing process. As more book buying moves online, this effect should be more and more pronounced.

Combined with a rapid acceptance of ebooks, print on demand promises to change the book publishing landscape forever.

We’ve now followed a book from publisher to print on demand supplier, through the distribution chain to the final book buyer, and back again.

For many self-published writers, POD works because their product is simple: moderate page count, black-and-white text, regular paper size; the kind of work a reader is more likely to download as an e-book. However, if a book has any special considerations – irregular paper size, color images or photos, high-quality reproductions, or inserts, POD most likely won’t provide enough flexibility. If a book is highly visual and includes drawings or photographs, the traditional process will offer a better reproduction, although nowadays the quality of an average black-and-white book printed on demand is nearly indistinguishable from a traditional printed work.

See our Pricing Guide for an indication of what it is likely to cost to have your work professionally published.