black and white book printing

Black and White Book Printing: 5 Advantages and 4 Disadvantages

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

November 24, 2022

As a self-published writer, you have many choices when it comes to the way you format and print your book. One of them is whether you should choose color printing or black and white book printing. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so it’s a good idea to look at them in detail before you decide. In this article, we’ll help you decide if black and white book printing is the right choice for you.

What Is Black and White Book Printing?

Also known as noncolor book printing, grayscale printing, or monochromatic book printing, this means you’re using only one color to print. Typically, the color is black because you want your text in black. If you’re using pictures, they should be at the right resolution to reproduce in black and white printing.

What Are the Advantages of Black and White Book Printing?

There are several reasons you should consider using only one color to print your book.

You’ll Save Time

One-color printing is much faster to set up than full-color printing. If you’re in a rush to get your book off the press, you may want to choose this option. Maybe you want to make sure you have your books ready to give away during a certain holiday season. Maybe you need your books for an upcoming trip to an author event where you hope to sell some copies. Some authors churn books out quickly, and popular self-published authors in some genres have customers waiting eagerly for their next book to appear.

Whatever your reasons for being in a rush, you will find that noncolor book printing is the way to go. Typically, you’ll get your books back in a few days. Always remember to account for shipping from the printer.

You’ll Save Money

Cost is a major reason why people choose noncolor book printing. Money is definitely tight these days, and if you’re a first-time author, your budget may be feeling the pinch. Consider black and white book printing if you’re on a budget.

Pricing Difference

How much of a difference does it make? In one recent online forum, a self-published writer compared quotes from two printers for color printing vs. black and white book printing. The results showed that the cost of printing in color ranged from $6.00 to $10.00 higher per book to print. That’s a big difference, and it’s no wonder most self-published authors might consider going the black and white route.

Price should not be your only concern, however.

You Get Consistent Quality

A professional printer can create consistent, high-quality colored pages, but some writers like the peace of mind that comes with knowing there’s only one color to worry about.

Preparing Print Files Is Easier

There’s no question that preparing print files for a color publication is more complicated than doing the same for a black and white book printing job. You don’t have to worry about converting the color profile, you don’t have to restrict yourself to high-quality color images, and you don’t have to worry about how the colors will look when they’re printed.

You know exactly how your book is going to look, and setup is a breeze. For first-time writers and those uncomfortable with technology, this can be a huge benefit of using monochromatic printing.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Black and White Book Printing?

Your Cover Design Is Limited

The cover is one of the most important parts of a self-published book. You need an arresting cover to capture the attention of potential buyers. With a black and white printing job, you won’t have the chance to use color on your cover.

This may not be a problem if you can find a way to design an eye-catching cover in black and white. Consider hiring a graphic artist and explaining your color limitations to them. A talented graphic designer can work magic using just one color. You could also consider these tips:

  • Use a black and white line drawing on the cover.
  • Create an eye-catching font treatment.
  • Add gloss or matte coating to the cover.

Can you print the book in black and white and use color just on the cover? When you use a professional book printer like Publishing Xpress, that is an option and a great one for authors.

It’s Not Right for Children’s Books

If you’ve written a children’s book, you really should have full-color illustrations and a cover. Children need bright colors and images to keep them engaged. They don’t appreciate the subtle nuances of black and white—and they shouldn’t have to. People are unlikely to buy a children’s book that isn’t in color, so your efforts to save money will backfire. If you have a children’s book, let this idea go.

You Have to Choose Your Images Carefully

Black and white book printing limits how many illustrations and diagrams you can have in the book. If your diagrams are mostly charts or graphs that don’t require color, you can include them. Otherwise, leave them out because they won’t come out clearly.

Always remember, however, that black and white doesn’t mean limited in tones and shades. Black and white photography is considered an art form for a reason. Skilled photographers know how to use all the various shades available in one color, from pale gray to darkest black, to create striking images. Some manga artists work only in black and white.

If you want to include photos and pictures with shading, you can do it even with noncolor book printing.

It Won’t Work for Certain Specialty Books

Like children’s books, art books, photo books, and so-called coffee table books don’t do well with noncolor book printing. These specialist books are usually places to show off beautiful images of the world. Printing them in black and white defeats their purpose.

Get Beautifully Printed Books on a Budget

If you’re considering black and white printing to save time and money, count on Publishing Xpress. We are expert printers who can make any print job look fantastic.

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