Is digital printing expensive?

Which is more effective for printing your book—digital or offset?When deciding between digital and offset printing for your book, there are twoprimary factors to take into account:

- the number of volumes you desire; and - the printing quality.

The passage from Book Design Made Simple below outlines thekey distinctions between digital and offset printing. This information shouldassist you in making this crucial choice for your book.

Of course, you can apply both techniques if you prefer:

- offset for your major print run and then digital foryour backlist, or - offset for your main print run and then offset for a smallfirst print run (or for advance review copies).


A more recent type of printing, digital printing makes useof either inkjet or laser technology. You likely have a digital printer at homeor work because digital printing has become widely available. Many printingbusinesses do, however, also provide high-quality digital printing services.

However, because there are no cost reductions associatedwith printing in bulk, digitally printed books are more expensive to create perbook than books produced using a printing press. Choosing how many colors touse might significantly affect the cost per print. Digital printing in blackand white is less expensive, but it doesn't matter if you decide you just needone color or a hundred. Screen printing requires an additional screen for everynew color, thus adding more colors will cost you money.

Printing Strategies

Traditional offset printing: Historically, books have beenprinted using ink on a printing press. Four ink colors are used to produce abook cover in full color (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK). Largesheets of paper with the pages typically printed in black ink are folded intosignatures (see page 321). Web presses, which use 48-page signatures and aremore cost-effective for printing text and line art, use 32-page signatures,while sheet-fed presses, which are better for printing pictures and color, use32-page signatures (black line drawings with no grays).

Digital printing:With the help of digital printing technology, books can be printed on laser andinkjet printers of the highest caliber. The pages are printed on paper, whilethe cover is printed in full color on cardstock. Digitally printing a limitedquantity of books is known as short-run printing (say 20 or 200).Print-on-demand (POD) refers to printers that print and ship books once acustomer orders them using digital printing (often one at a time).

Comparison of Quality

Offset printing as it has been done for years gives you alot of versatility and the ability to manage the quality of your book. To makea high-quality book precisely how you want it, you can work with your printerto select the size, paper type, binding, and many other variables. There aremany types of paper available for offset printers, including recycled-contentgreen papers.

Digital printing:Digital printing has a small selection of papers to choose from and only a fewconventional trim size options (often 5.5" x 8.5" or 8.5" x11"). Both the inside and outside of books can be printed in color or justin black. Every day, there can be a 10% variation in the hues (e.g., they mightbe slightly pinker or greener one day). Although most readers wouldn't noticethe change, many books look quite acceptable within these constraints.

Ink is indirectly transferred to printed material duringoffset printing. For each color of your print project, the printer will producespecial metal plates that are engraved with your project image. The ink fromthese plates is transferred to a different rubber roller (also known as arubber blanket) that rolls the ink on the paper after being put onto rollers.Talk to your printer about digital printing if you have shorter print runs,need your products done fast, and don't particularly care about specialfeatures like color, ink, paper size, or paper type.

Even while ink for digital printing is more expensive thanink for traditional printing, printing companies may use less ink thanks todigital printing and, in particular, Archer+ technology. Extending the life ofprintheads can help printers save a significant sum of money over time becausethey are one of the most expensive components of a digital printing machine.Screen printing is an extremely adaptable process that may be used to print ona wide variety of materials, including textiles, plastic, and latex. Printingcompanies can reduce labor expenses and, as a result, the cost of digitalprinting by switching to digital textile printing. comparison of digital and offsetprinting

One layer of ink is applied to the printing surface at atime during the screen printing process using a stencil, which is also known asa screen. Understanding the printing process, in general, will help youdifferentiate between offset and digital printing. But when folded, pieces madewith digital printing are more prone to "crack," especially if theywere printed on cover weight materials. The cost, lead time, and quality of thefinished product all influence the buyer's decision between digital and offsetprinting.

Based on the principle that the image area to be printedshould be transferred from a "plate" to a rubber blanket and then tothe sheet of paper, offset printing was developed. Digital textile printingalso makes it possible to print with excellent quality and a variety of inkcolors. Offset printing is the greatest choice for huge volumes because itoffers accurate color reproduction and crisp, clean, professional-lookingprinting and because offset printers operate so well once set up. Batches ofdigital prints can now be published in a couple of seconds thanks tosignificant advancements in digital printing techniques.

With Archer technology, which keeps printheads farther awayfrom the substrate, SPGPrint digital textile printers are less likely tosustain printhead damage. Your choice of printing technique will also depend onthe kind of project you're working on. Offset printing will probably benecessary for anything that has a huge print run, such as a book or magazine, oranything made of unusual materials like T-shirts. Digital printing isfrequently a good option for smaller jobs like postcards, flyers, or businesscards. Since every circumstance is unique, it is always advisable to ask aqualified printer for their recommendations.