Short Run Book Printers

Written by Will Baum
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Short run book printers practice a relatively new craft also known as "publishing on demand." Once upon a time, books were printed by the hundreds and the thousands of copies. Shipping and storage costs kept most writers out of the self-publishing game. Today, all that has changed.

Short run book printers charge a small fee for readying a book for print. This usually includes consultation on--and sometimes assistance with--layout and artwork. The only thing short run book publishers don't usually supply is editorial help. For that, writers have to turn to their friends and mentors. Many writing magazines include advertisements by people offering their editorial help to self-publishing writers.

Writers generally receive a small number of books at the beginning of a project, and after that, the machinery stops--at least the printing machinery stops. Now it's time for promotion and sales. It's only when the sales come in that the printing machinery gets going again. Short run book printers don't print books unless they have been ordered.

Short Run Book Printers Save Money

With publishing on demand, no unwanted books are printed. That means no money is wasted printing extra books. If it costs several dollars to print and bind a typical book, this savings becomes significant very quickly.

The way major publishers market books seems old-fashioned. They print thousands of books so they can stack them to the ceiling in every big bookstore across the country. They are in the unenviable position of printing books they're not sure anyone will buy. A string of flops can close a major publishing house for good. It's not difficult to imagine a future in which all publishing follows the model of short run book printers.


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