Blitzprint of course! No, I am just kidding. We may be the right fit for you, we may not be. It all depends on what your needs are. If you want to be able to print one book at a time, then you need to go with that kind of POD (print on demand) printer. For these scenarios, I would suggest checking out Lightening Source or CreateSpace. With both of them, you register your book through them, send them VERY specific files, and then they list you online with their various sources. Really make sure that you research this to be sure that it is right for you. For instance, CreateSpace lists you on Amazon.com once you are working with them. That being said, you can achieve the same thing with Amazon Advantage. Figure out what is right for you. Also, as fair warning, with these kinds of book printers, there is no guarantee on the colors on and in your book. Every time that you print, you can almost guarantee a 5% variance on your colors. It is hardly noticeable at 5% and under, but it is there. At places where someone is printing larger runs of your books, they should be watching to ensure that your color doesn’t vary more than that 5%. There really isn’t someone there doing that for you in these scenarios. Basically, you have strict file restrictions when you submit to them, because the book essentially has to fit a certain criteria. The reason for this is that, when they get in 700 orders that day, all of these books need to fit together into categories, so that they can all be printed together, at once. This is what keeps their cost down, it now cost them per unit the cost to print 700 books, which is way lower than the cost per unit to print 1 book. With all of those books going through, there isn’t really a person holding up the last copy of your book and saying, hmmm, I don’t think that this color is going to be acceptable to the author. These books would also be printed digitally, just as an FYI. Also, these books would be being turned around in a day or two, typically. Last, but not least, your cost per unit with these types of companies doesn’t go up or down much with quantity changes. The price will usually be pretty close to the same the whole way through.
If you are printing between, I would say 25 and 1,000 books, your best fit really is a company like Blitzprint. We are called short run POD printers. At this range, we are still printing books digitally. Don’t let that scare you. I can’t speak for other companies, but I can for ours, and we have some pretty amazing machines that produce some of the most beautiful colors and printing that I have ever seen. This is definitely the sweet spot for most self published authors, because they can get usable quantities at reasonable prices, and in a reasonable timeline. I know that for us, our standard timeline is 12-20 business days after proof approval, plus any shipping time. The sweet spot for printing with a short run POD printer is usually between 100 and 500 quantity. This is where you will notice your cost per unit going down the most when you add books. There are no price break points in this type of printing. Every time you add a book to the quantity of your order, your price per unit will go down. Depending on how many books you add to your order, the price could be a couple of cents (deciding you want 101 books, not 100) to a dollar or more (deciding that you want 500 books, not 100). Also, in this type of printing, we typically don’t need, or want, for that matter, your book to come to us in signatures. What that means is, in most perfect bound book scenarios, as long as you have an even number of pages, then we will be able to print it.
At around 1,000 books, typically, sometimes less, sometimes more, we will suggest that you go to see an offset printer. Offset is traditional printing, with a press and inks. These books take a little longer to get, need to be set up in specific ways with signatures, and have to be done in large quantities. With that being said, if you are looking for large quantities, or have a specific color need, there really is no other way to go. With offset you can print specific colors called Pantones, you can do metallics, foiling, embossing, debossing, etc! Realistically, when it comes to offset the sky (and your wallet!) is the limit. However, if you aren’t up there in the quantities, it probably isn’t worth it. It may look pretty to have all of those fore mentioned things on your cover, but I promise you that no one is going to look at your book and say, “No metallic on the cover? I’m moving on!”. If you don’t want to print over 1000 books, but do have specific color needs that may need to be met via offset, talk to your short run POD printer, and see what your options are for getting a few thousand of your cover preprinted, so that they can just be bound to the freshly printed interiors every time that you have an order. If you are going to go this route, though, you had better LOVE your cover, because you are going to be stuck with it, as it is, for a while. If you are going the large run offset route, I strongly recommend checking out both Friesen’s and Houghton Boston here in Canada. Not only are they local companies, so you are supporting your country’s economy, but they are really great to work with. I can say that confidently, because my clients have told me so! Also, with these types of printers they work with things call price breaks. What this means, essentially, is that between X number of books, and Y number of books, you are going to be paying pretty much the same amount. Make sure to ask them about price breaks.
For more information on self publishing, please visit our website.