Book Printing Just Got Cheaper

March 2000
by Dan Poynter

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Book publishing is changing-for the better. There is a New Model for book writing, producing, selling, and promoting. Now you can break into print faster, easier, and cheaper. One part of this revolutionary change is in printing.PQN (Print Quantity Needed) printing machines produce 8 to 12 books at a time from a PDF file on a disk. This short run printing uses a higher speed direct-to-image (disk to drum) electrostatic process with a toner blend that reproduces photographs well. There is no film or plate. The process is cost effective for quantities from 100 to 1,500 copies. It is no longer necessary to print 3,000+ books; 100 or 500 can be produced at a reasonable per-unit cost. Color covers are usually done with the same digital process. Putting a lot of ink on paper is now just an option; a good one if there is large prepublication demand such as advanced sales to bookstores and/or a sale to a bookclub. There is no longer any reason to print 3,000 or more copies of your book on spec. In the future, most books will not be manufactured until after they are sold.Costs. Let’s compare prices for traditional ink-press printing, PQN, and POD (print-on-demand, one book at a time such as DocuTech). We will compare a softcover (perfect bound) 144-page 5.5 x 8.5 book with black text and a four-color cover. Press (ink on paper): $1.55 each but you have to print 3,000 to get a price this low. So your print bill will be $4,650. PQN printer (short run): IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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