August 28, 2023
Why do small book quantities make sense? Deciding between self-publishing and working with a traditional publishing company can be challenging for many authors. The end result – a beautiful book, ready to be put into the hands of a reader – is the same. But authors that work with traditional publishers relinquish control over many aspects of their book, including the content, the cover and book design, its marketing, and even how and where the book is distributed.
Self-published authors, on the other hand, make all of the decisions about their work, like the content of the book, what it looks like as a printed book, and where and how readers can find it. And part of the reason that self-publishing is so popular today, aside from an author’s ability to control every aspect of their own work, is that digital printing has made small book quantities affordable and convenient.
Book publishing has changed in recent years with the onset of digitalization. Up until the 1990s, most large-scale printing processes were completed through offset printing, and it is still used today for large print jobs. Offset printing utilizes a single plate that will be coated with ink and pressed onto a blank page.
Offset printing of 300-page novels, for example, will require 300 plates to be created, coated with ink, and pressed thousands of times to create each individual page of a book, making this process only cost-effective in high-volume printing circumstances. Unlike offset printing, digital printing does not require plates to duplicate original content onto a new page.
Instead, a digital high-volume laser or inkjet printer is used to transfer digital images onto the page in a process that is cost-effective for small book quantities. But authors who choose to self-publish with printers that offer small book quantities production usually select this route for four specific reasons.
One of the requirements with using offset to print copies of a book is that the publisher needs to make a large volume of copies for the process to be cost-effective. But printing processes using lasers or inkjet printers do not require huge minimums, making digital printing ideal for self-publishing authors who are in charge of storing copies of their books.
Authors who self-publish will often hold onto boxes of books until they are sold to a customer, delivered to a retailer, or provided to another location to be sold. When offset printing is used, an author would be given hundreds of boxes of books, creating a logistical nightmare. But self-published authors who choose digital printing can order book production in the hundreds rather than the thousands or tens of thousands of books, making storage and transportation of book boxes much more manageable.
Another reason that authors choose small book quantities production is that it is very convenient. Authors who are running low on copies but schedule a book signing event can reorder another box or two of books to have on hand.
Or when self-publishing authors don’t want to overorder the initial printing run, when sales begin to roll in the author can reorder books as needed. By offering printing in small book quantities, authors have the flexibility to order books when they need them without having to outlay a large financial investment to print a huge quantity of books that may (or may not) sell quickly.
An author that works with a traditional publishing company usually collaborates with a small army of company employees whose job is to polish, edit, revise, and rework the manuscript content to prepare it for printing.
But even with all of those eyes on a book, small errors and mistakes sometimes slip through and make it into the pages of the final copy. And when offset printing is used, those missteps show up in thousands of copies. But self-publishing authors can adjust their book’s final manuscript each time they reorder.
Writing, revising, editing, and printing a book takes a lot of time and effort for an author, and even the most skilled writer may miss a small mistake in this sometimes lengthy and often challenging process.
If a spelling error, formatting mistake, missing page number, cover misstep, or a content problem is discovered after book production has taken place using digital printing, an author is free to make adjustments to the digital copy of their manuscript so that any future printings will look perfect. And by choosing small book quantities to print each time, an author who goes the self-publishing route won’t have to worry about a mistake or error showing up on thousands of copies.
While no author wants to see an error or mistake in the final copy of their book, knowing that the problem is only in a few copies is much less stressful than realizing that thousands of readers have potentially noticed the error in a book that was published through offset printing.
The process of digitally printing a book only takes a fraction of the time that offset printing does. When a printer is creating small book quantities using laser or inkjet printing processes, the turnaround time can be weeks or even days in some cases.
By contrast, publishing companies that use offset printing processes have to create a printing plate for every page of a book, extending the length of time required to print copies of a book. In addition, in order to make offset printing cost-effective, offset printing must be done in large quantities of tens of thousands of copies, further increasing the time it takes to print, assemble, and bind the books using this method.
Authors who self-publish their work may need to order or reorder their books to use quickly, and digital printing that allows for small book quantities production can make that happen. Receiving a call that copies of your self-published book are running low at a retailer is an exciting time when you know that by simply placing a new order, you can replenish those almost-empty shelves with fresh copies so more readers can buy your book.
While empty shelves may indicate a book is becoming popular, they don’t help authors sell books. And books that are out of stock can slow down the excitement of readers who hear about a new title to check out, only to find no copies to buy on the virtual or physical bookshelf.
Authors who choose to initially print small book quantities can also wait for their first copies to start to sell before ordering more books without worrying about having to wait months for new copies to arrive. small book quantities can be printed and bound quickly, allowing authors to provide a steady stream of books to their retailers without having to spend too much money upfront on printing costs.
Publishing Xpress uses digital printing processes and small book quantities production perfect for self-publishing authors. Partnering with a trusted printer like Publishing Xpress means you can get your book into the hands of readers quickly, helping you to start building your fan base right away.
And with small book quantities capabilities, Publishing Xpress’s printing processes allow you to make those critical small adjustments to your manuscript so you can be proud of your self-published book. When your book catches on with readers, you can reorder with confidence that freshly printed copies of your book will be on their way to you in a short amount of time so your readers and soon-to-be fans won’t have to wait months for the next printing of your book.
Storing and transporting your book will also be simpler when you work with a digital printer that can fulfill small book quantities, making ordering, holding on to and transporting boxes of your books less stressful. By working with a printer like Publishing Xpress, you can make the strategic choice to print the right number of copies of your book, right when you need them.
© 2023 Publishing Xpress. All Rights Reserved.