For Big-Timers: The Pros and Cons of Using Asian Printers
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“Should I be printing my books in Asia?” Publishers ask me that question often and the answer has to be “It depends.” There are some rules of thumb, which I present below, but changing global economic circumstances affect even these.
In general, short-run 4/color printing is best done overseas, and so is some one- and two-color printing with large page counts, special bindings or other non-standard specifications. By short-run, I mean in a range under 15,000 – 20,000 units in standard formats of 8-1/2″ x 11″, 8″ x 10″, and so forth. Overseas, a publisher can realize savings of up to one-third on these, even including the shipping and Customs clearance charges. For oversize books, such as 9″ x 11″, 9″ x 12″, and others, the savings can be even greater. Moreover, very few places in the States can manufacture large-format books, so press capacity and availability are always issues here, especially if you need a quick reprint.
Books manufactured in Asia are, in my opinion, of better quality than those done by major U.S. printers. Sheet-fed printing and smythe-sewn bindings are the norm from Asia, although you can get adhesive bindings on paperbacks. And web printing is available for long runs at some printers (usually for more than 30,000 copies). The surfaces of the coated papers are smoother overseas, especially on the mattes, which are more like our dulls. However, their opacity is not quite as good as on American sheets, so you might have to go up a notc…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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