by Nomsa Chirisa
Book printing is the final stage of the book publishing process. Congratulations on the journey you’ve completed so far! You are at the finish line, and it’s as good as a done deal. Printing your book is like giving birth to your little baby. After the long and tedious months packed with sleepless nights, challenges and sacrifices, you get to hold the book you’ve been producing all along. It’s incredibly exciting to show it off to the world and to hand it to the reader. But, in order to fully embrace the new baby, you have to choose your printer wisely. One thing to note is that book printers have more or less the same abilities – printing books; but book printing goes beyond just running the press. In essence, the printing process entails that your book is printed just the way you want it and the way it should be, not only because you are paying for it, but also because it is part of the building blocks which complement the content in your book.
Before your reader buys your book, they will skim and scan over the copy. By doing this, they assess if they are drawn to what they are seeing – the overall outlook of your book. Just like the cover or title, the print aspect of your book has the power to wreck a good book. For your current and all your future books, you need to choose your printer with your publication in mind.
What a good printer will do for you
Here is what a good printer will do for you:
- Advise on the choice of printing method to go for
- Give discounts for a large print run
- Offer after sales services for new customers and/or bulk printing
The 3-quotations concept
This concept entails you to request at least three quotations for the printing of your book. The three quotations will help you to access and choose the best printer. As you begin to acknowledge and celebrate your hard work, do not dismiss the fact that your book deserves good print. You should be able to look at your printed copy at any time and put on a proud smile on your face. Let’s look at the important issues to consider when looking for a printer.
8 Important issues to consider when looking for a printer
The quality of the print on the paper should be appealing, both for you and your reader. Upon requesting a quotation from the printer, also ask to have as many samples as they can from their backlist. The font should appear as clear as possible, such that neither you nor the reader will squint at the book. Further, take note that the print quality does not leave ink spots on the paper. Quality print speaks for itself – it lures the reader to the book.
Book printing is the biggest cost factor in book publishing but that should not stop you from printing your book. If anything, it is probably the last of your big cost factors, and soon you will be making sales. Nonetheless, printing your book should not cost you an arm and a leg, or leave your pockets cleaned out. Because of this, assess your quotations carefully and only go with the printer that you can afford. However, aim to create a balance between costs that are too low and high because arguably, the lower the cost, the poor the quality; and you wouldn’t want that for your book. As you consider the pricing of each printer, also match it with their print quality. And remember that saving costs is equally important as getting high quality print. At the end of the day, ensure that what you are going for is a good print deal for your book and your pocket as well.
Deadlines and schedules
The delivery of your printed books should be timely. Choose a printer who will adhere to the agreed timelines. But this is not as easy as taking a walk in the park, hence one way to enforce this is to ask to see the printer’s schedule. This will enable you to have a rough estimate of the delivery time of your books. More effectively, is to sign a contract that has consequences should the printer default on the deadline for delivery of your books. You’d want to think of the readers who have already pre-purchased their copies, your launch date or your sales schedule. Time is as central as money, and it should be accounted for.
The location of the printer matters when choosing one. Are they local, regional or international? For quick service delivery, you’d want to go for a local or regional printer, but international printers are reputable for better quality and service delivery. Be thorough in evaluating what they can offer in terms of deadlines and transportation or the shipping of your books. But all things considered, go for a printer whom you can easily hold accountable in cases of non-compliance.
When your books have been printed, you will need warehousing/storage and transportation from the printers. While this is to some extent costly, some printers offer this as a marketing strategy for their business, and as after-sales services to its customers. Either way, it attracts them customers, and saves you a whole lot of costs. As you begin the talks with your printer, ask them what will happen to your books when they have been printed; whether they will store them for you until you are ready to collect and if they will also transport them from their warehouse. It’s worth a shot, and it will save you in the long run.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions are a common strategy used by most businesses to get what they want in the process of delivering their services to customers. The most common in book printing are:
“Get a 15% discount on a 5000 print run;
We run a 1000 print run and above;
Free warehousing and transportation for 10000 copies and above.”
It’s common not to read the terms and conditions on the quotation or contract or on any other document, but ignoring them will only lead you to making uninformed decisions. Read through all the documents from your printer to the last word. Know the terms and conditions to which they will print your books, store or transport them. If you do not agree, negotiate with them and have a revised document before signing on the dotted line.
Printers differ in the way they run their businesses and the means by which they deliver products and services to their customers, but it goes without saying that for your specific book and demands, a printer with vast resources – machinery, manpower and skills, is better equipped to print your books. Enormous resources will ensure better quality and better service delivery. However, printers with these kind of resources usually have overwhelming schedules and you should be vigilant to ensure that they meet the agreed deadlines.
How reputable a business is, is its first and sure attraction to customers. You may have heard of how customers like reputable brands – we all do, right? As a prudent and alert writer, you know the reputable printers. Do your research, ask around, request for samples, check reviews, and follow recommendations – anything to land you a good printing deal with a trusted printer.
Book publishing is a combination of rigorous processes that, if handled with precaution, produce a great book. And because you have done your part – writing and publishing, it is common to feel the need to hurry and print your book instantly, but it usually does more harm than good. You owe it to your copy to finish the journey prudently as you do not want to produce a half-baked book. After all, great books are a product of careful and thorough effort, birthing an even finely printed product.
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