Offset Printing FAQs


What is offset printing?

Offset printing is a method of mass-production printing in which digital book files are converted into film negatives that are used to etch the pages of a book into custom metal plates. After ink is added to the plates, large rollers pick up the ink from the plates and then transfer it to paper. Offset printing is commonly used in traditional publishing, allowing authors to print their books in bulk. Typically we use Print-On-Demand (POD) fulfillment, where books are printed one at a time after each book order is placed.

What are the benefits of offset printing?

  • More design and print flexibility. You’ll have more options than what is supported through POD printing, such as the following:
    • The ability to print at a higher resolution, meaning sharper and cleaner book covers and interior type than POD because of the printing tools used.
    • Additional cover and paper stock options, such as gloss- or matte-coated paper stock.
    • Additional trim size and design options (example: embossed text on the front cover).
  • Lower author price. Each book costs less for the author to print when compared to POD. The cost to print each offset is individually quoted depending on volume and the book’s specs.

Why would I want to do offset printing?

There are several reasons why some of our authors choose offset printing. If you’re considering offset printing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have special print requirements—such as unique formats, paper options, binding or cover treatments—that are not supported or available through POD?
  • Do you have a large reach and ability to process a large number of orders? Do you want the opportunity to sell a large number of books directly to customers?
  • Do you want to lower your print cost to increase your return on books you sell?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, offset printing might be right for you. Call your Book Consultant to discuss your options.

What are the disadvantages of offset publishing?

Offset publishing is certainly not for all authors, as most are satisfied with the POD advantages. Offset publishing requires a large upfront investment that authors may not wish to spend, and it does not guarantee that bookstores will pick up your book.

Is there a minimum print run that offset is available for?

Yes. To benefit financially from your offset investment, we suggest that you plan to print a minimum of 1,500 units. Please contact your Book Consultant for more information.

How much does it cost to do offset printing?

The cost of offset printing is quoted on a case-by-case basis, depending on your book’s format and the volume you wish to print. Please contact your Book Consultant for more information.