You have just finished writing your first book and are anxious to get it in the hands of buyers. Selecting a printer is an important and often difficult step when producing your first published book.
While e-books have gained popularity, print books still outsell them. According to the Association of American Publishers’ Annual Report 2019, print books created $22.6 billion in publishing revenue, while e-books only generated $2.04 billion in revenue.
Read on to find out all you need about selecting a printing service.
Selecting a Printer for Your First Published Book
It used to be when writing a book you got an agent, they found you a publisher, and the printing was part of that package. That is no longer the case.
According to the “Self-Publishing in the United States Report, 2013-2018: Print and E-books” a total of 1.68 million e-books and print books were self-published in 2017. Here are 10 great tips for doing a custom book printing.
- Consider Price
The first step is to request a book printing quote so you can determine what they offer, what the price is, and whether it fits your budget. Comparison shop between 2-3 services to get a feel for the business.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford the most expensive offer. Price does not guarantee quality service. What is important is an understanding of materials, bindings, color options, and the quality of their work.
- Printing Equipment
The condition of the printer they use and how well they maintain it can impact the quality and prompt delivery of your book. Printers that are poorly maintained and experience breakdowns may delay delivery. If you are considering the use of digital printing, you want to use a firm that has the most recent printing technology.
Ask for a sample of the printer’s work. If reputable, they will be happy to show you the work they produce. Make sure it is something they have actually printed and is not another printer’s sample.
- Specialization for Self-Publishers
A company that does custom book printing for self-publishing authors understands your needs and will guide you through the process. They will be able to answer your questions and offer advice regarding the best options for your book.
Make sure options they suggest truly improve your book. Unreputable printers simply push the sale of services without any concern for the finished product.
- Length of Time in Business
Look at the length of time they have been doing book printing. Services that have been in business for a lengthy period of time usually have a consistent quality and output.
In addition to the length of time in business, look at their customer reviews. If the majority of reviews are positive, you are making a good choice.
- Printing Options
What types of printing options do they offer? Consider hardcover, paperback, and e-books.
Some printers offer all formats and the book formatting can easily be adjusted for each version. Other book printers only offer one format, and you will need to find another printer if you want to expand available versions.
Keep in mind that each book format requires its own ISBN. If you want to be the publisher, you need to purchase the number.
- ISBN Number
Each format of your book you print requires its own ISBN, whether hardcover, paperback, or e-book. Printers normally do not provide an ISBN, so you will need this prior to printing your book.
When you purchase an ISBN number is that you are the owner of that number. If you purchase an ISBN through a publisher, then move to a different publisher, you will need to obtain a new number.
This is because each ISBN number identifies the registrant, specific title, edition, and format. ISBN numbers cannot be transferred.
- Before You Format
You must choose your printing company prior to formatting your book. Book printing services use their own measurements for different parts of the book, such as the front cover, back cover, page count, and spine width.
The book template used in printing your book is determined by the book (trim) size, paper, binding options, and page count.
- Book Size
You will need to know your book’s overall dimensions before printing. The book size (trim size) you select determines the internal specifications and cover template of your book. A 6″ x 9″ size is the most common for paperbacks.
You may select any size you choose. A good way of making a determination on size is to pick up your favorite paperback book and check its size.
- Paper, Binding, and Laminate
You will need to select the color of the paper for the book pages, type of binding, and the laminate. The majority of books are printed on uncoated paper stock and use a coated stock for the cover.
With coated paper stock the ink will be bright and look glossy. When printed on uncoated stock the ink is absorbed into the paper, which provides a more dull finish. The majority of novels are printed using 50# offset white.
If you are placing photographs into your book you may want to consider a 60# white or natural. That will give your photos a better appearance.
Infant and Toddler Books
If you are printing a board book for an infant or toddler, paper considerations are different. This type of book has pages made of thick paperboard with a laminate finish and rounded page corners. This provides the book with the durability it needs to withstand frequent handling by children.
Layouts for custom board book printing are priced based on the number of spreads, not pages. You will want to watch your printer’s requirements to make sure your layouts are done properly.
- Book Distribution
Book distribution plays a large part in your out-of-pocket printing costs. Find out whether they offer a wide distribution to brick and mortar stores, or whether they do primarily online sales.
Are you obligated to purchase a certain number of print books, and if so what is the quantity? Do they offer an “on-demand” printing service where each book is printed as it is ordered? Online only selling is the format chosen by most self-published and new authors.
Print That Book!
Now that you have all you need to know about selecting a printer for your first published book, what are you waiting for? Get that book printed!
We encourage you to check out our other blogs for more great information.