Short run v litho book printing. Which is best?

When it comes to book printing, there are three main categories to consider; print on demand (POD), offset (litho) and short run printing. To be sure which option is best for you, you need to consider what you are printing and how many copies you are hoping to print. You want to be sure you are choosing the right type of printing method for you and your book. And most importantly, you want to be sure the method you are choosing is most cost-effective. We’ve taken a look at all options and narrowed them down here for your consideration:

POD book printing

Print on demand (POD) printing is typically used for self-publishers and the book is only published as and when a customer orders the book. This type of printing means you never print more or less books than you need as it is all relative to the sales made. There is no need to worry about storage, distribution or fulfilment, as it is all taken care off with each sale and purchase.

Of course, with this automated option there are more room for errors as it is all done via a computer system. There are also limitations with customisation; such as trim size and paper type. And the cost of print on demand books is much higher than printing multiple books at one time. It is the less risky choice for new authors, but with less risk does come less profit margin.

Offset litho printing

Offset litho printing is one of the oldest forms of book printing. It has the highest setup cost and requires more initial preparation setting up the rollers, plates and machinery – meaning turnaround for this type of printing is much longer than other methods. However, once in place, it can be more economical than POD printing, provided you are printing in bulk – usually around 2,500 books.

Images will be of better quality with this traditional method and once the plates are produced, the cost for reprints will be much lower. However, you do also have to think about storage, distribution and fulfilment with litho printing, as all copies will be delivered to the author to sort out sales.

Short run printing

Thanks to modern technology, short run printing offers the best of both worlds, allowing digital printing with high quality images and the option of shorter print runs. It is the happy medium between POD and litho printing. Short run printing is best used when quantities are between 25 and 2,000 books. All types of printing methods are possible, from soft cover, to hard cover and even wiro-O bound binding.

Like litho printing, there are people involved in set-up and quality control reducing the number of print errors. And there is more scope for custom book printing. Books are still delivered directly to the author, so managing inventory, distribution and shipping still needs to be considered.

Choose Book Printing 

If you’re publishing your first book, or your umpteenth book, consider Manufactured to an exceptionally high standard, we offer the best online book printing service, and are renowned for the quality of books we produce. Our dedicated team have a wealth of experience in the book production and publishing arena and can provide assistance to anyone who wants to print single book printing in the UK.

We offer short run printing, and custom book printing, all within the UK. Whatever your requirements, we are confident we can help! Whether you’re looking to order book printing online or are looking for a free bespoke estimate, contact us today and let us help you to get a book printed. Call us on 01525 621742 / 01525 621754 or email: