digital or offset book printing, which is better?

Which is better for your book, digital or offset printing?

Although I’m a book ghostwriter, not a printer, I’m often asked about printing and publication.

Many of my clients are not sure about the differences between digital and offset printing, or which to use for their book.

Here’s a quick comparison of the two.

Digital Printing – Pros

  • Low set-up costs.
  • Economical for short and ultra-short runs.
  • Used for POD (print-on-demand).
  • Faster turn-around time than with offset printing, for there is less press set-up and maintenance.
  • Less waste.

Digital Printing – Cons

  • Print quality may be slightly inferior to offset printing 
  • Color quality may suffer, depending on the color scheme you’re using. Does not reproduce Pantone colors with 100 percent fidelity.
  • Cost per unit may be higher than with offset printing, depending on number of units printed.
  • Limited paper selection.
Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

Offset Printing – Pros

  • Very high-quality printing.
  • Good color reproduction.
  • More economical for long runs.
  • Cost per unit falls with additional units printed.
  • Large variety of paper stock, inks, and finishes can be used.

Offset Printing – Cons

  • Higher set-up cost.
  • Increased turn-around time, for the press needs to be reset for each job.
  • Expensive for short runs.
  • Cost prohibitive for POD (print-on-demand).

There are valid reasons to choose one form of printing over the other. If you’re looking to bottom-line it, remember that digital printing is more cost-effective for short runs, while offset printing is a better bet for long runs. (See my post titled “10 Book Printing Definitions” to learn about different print runs.)


Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

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