Printing your self-published book: Which printer should I use? (Part 3)

Welcome back to the wonderful world of self-publishing and the Trish Tidbits that get served up every Wednesday. In her last post before Christmas, Trish (the Book Division Manager at Blitzprint) talked about short run POD printers. Today she talks about offset printers.

Typically, at around 1,000 books, sometimes less, sometimes more, we will suggest that you go to see an offset printer. Offset printers provide traditional printing using a press and inks.

These books take 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 also do metallics, foiling, embossing, debossing, etc. When it comes to offset printing, the sky (and your wallet!) is the limit. However, if you aren’t up there in quantities, it probably isn’t worth it. It may look pretty to have all of those aforementioned 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 1,000 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. If you have specific needs for your cover, you might be able to get a few thousand copies of it preprinted and then have the POD printer bind them to the freshly printed interiors every time you place an order. If you are going this route, though, you had better LOVE your cover, because you are going to be stuck with it, as it is, for a while.

Also, offset printers work with things called 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.

I don’t understand this. Can you give an example?

This is a confusing concept. Using some imaginary numbers, let’s say a printer’s price breaks occur at 100 quantity (qty), 500 qty and 750 qty. Any number that you order up to a quantity of 100 will be pretty much the same price as that 100; any number between 100 and 500 will be pretty much the same as the 500 qty price and the same goes between 500 and 750. They will all be the 750 qty price.  Make sure to ask them about price breaks.

I think I get it. With short run printers, the price per book goes down with every book added to the order. With offset printers, the price per book only changes when you hit a price break point. Good to know. Thank you, Trish!

If you decide to go 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!

Trish Romanchuk is the manager of the book division for Blitzprint Inc. For more information on their book printing products and services, please visit their website, or contact Trish directly at

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