FAQs about Book Printing, Inspired by a Recent Conference

Nicole and I recently attended the College Art Association conference in Washington, DC, and had lots of interest in our short-run digital book printing services. A number of questions came up again and again, and I thought it would be worthwhile to do a brief post about them. Here are the questions:

How do we choose the books?

We don’t. We just print books for publishers—including individual artists—who choose what books to publish. In 99.9% of cases, book publishers don’t print books and book printers don’t publish books. (More here on the difference between book publishers and book printers.)

Do we just print for self-publishing authors?

We print for galleries, museums, university presses, trade publishers, non-book companies like consultants and software developers, and associations as well as for individual artists. We do not print for non-art self-publishers.

Do we just print art books?

We print all kinds of books: paperbacks and hardcovers, fiction, non-fiction, black and white, color, you name it.

How does it work?

You give us the basic details of your book, we give you a printing price, you give us the cover and interior print files, we make proofs for your approval before we print, we print and ship the books whereever you want.

What does short-run mean?

Traditionally book printers optimized their plants for printing thousands of copies of a book at a whack on offset printing presses. Short run book printers—not to be confused with Print-on-Demand!—utilize digital printing equipment to print books in much shorter runs. We print anywhere from 25 copies to 2,000. Above 1,500 copies though, offset printing is almost always less expensive, though it takes typically two to four times as long. More on selecting the type of book printer that’s best for you here.

Did I miss any questions? Let me know!

Need a printing quote, eBook conversion quote, or more information?

You can request a printing quote here, or request an eBook conversion quote here.

I’d be happy to answer questions—you can contact me via email.
 I welcome any feedback, including that pointing out my errors!

Don Leeper is founder and CEO of Bookmobile, which has provided design, printing, eBook, and distribution services for book publishers since 1982.