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% fidelity.
- Cost per unit may be higher than with offset printing, depending on number of units printed.
- Paper selection limited.
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 up 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 over. 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.)