Offset Printing VS Print-On-Demand

When authors are ready to move past the convenience store model of print-on-demand and focus on a cost-effective business model, they choose the offset printing model. Offset printing gives the author full control over the materials used to create a quality end-product. I cover four key differences in quality between offset printing and print-on-demand.

When authors are ready to move past the convenience store model of print-on-demand and focus on a cost-effective business model, they choose the offset printing model. Offset printing gives the author full control over the materials used to create a quality end-product. I cover four key differences in quality between offset printing and print-on-demand.

1. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark offer extremely limited options for your interior paper:

Amazon KDP (source)

  • Black and White Interior

    • Black ink and 55# (90 GSM) cream paper

    • Black ink and 55# (90 GSM) white paper

  • Color Interior

    • Standard color interior with 55# (90 GSM) white paper

    • Premium color ink and 60# (100 GSM) white paper

IngramSpark (source)

  • Black and White Interior

    • Black ink: 50# (74 GSM) cream paper

    • Black ink: 50# (74 GSM) white paper

  • Color Interior

    • Standard color ink: 50# (74 GSM) white paper

    • Standard color ink: 70# (104 GSM) white paper

    • Premium color ink: 70# (104 GSM) white paper

That’s it! You do NOT even have the option of coated/uncoated/glossy/matte. While these options are passable for basic black-and-white books, print-on-demand should be your last option for printing your illustrated children’s book. Even then, you should approach POD as the non-profitable model that it is.

To prevent buckling of the paper, children’s books should be printed on a minimum of 85# paper, which is not available with POD.

2. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark offer extremely limited options for your hardback’s interior layout:

3. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark do not offer the printing and care quality of a dedicated printer:

4. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark Offer Limited Control Over Your Distribution

Print-On-Demand truly utilizes some amazing technology. The ability to upload and sell your books through Amazon’s platform is very alluring. But for all of the good these platforms offer, your book is often not stored or shipped with care, which can result in a very unpleasant experience for the customer.

Offset printing, however, puts the customer’s experience back in your hands. You can either warehouse and ship your own books or you can partner with IAPC to print, warehouse, and ship your books to an individual, a bookstore, Amazon’s warehouse, or any other place your books need to be shipped to.

Schedule a call with IAPC’s sales rep, Jimmy Martin, to learn more about how they can help you with printing, warehousing, and distribution.

5. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark Offer Limited Binding Options

With POD, your two main binding options are either softcover (paperback) or hardcover (case-laminate or digital clothbound). 

To complicate matters further, KDP only offers hardbacks in 4 trim sizes: 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9, or 6.14 x 9.21, while IngramSpark offers hardback in 13 different sizes.

But to complicate it even further, with Ingram, of those 13 sizes that hardback is available in, you can only get 5 of those sizes with a dustjacket (the largest is 6.14 x 9.21), and only 4 of those sizes in the digital cloth.

Additionally, if you want to print a book in a landscape orientation, your only option is the 11 x 8.5 trim size through IngramSpark. This means you then have to use IngramSpark to distribute to Amazon.

Offset printing allows you to fully customize the tactile experience for your book.

6. Amazon KDP and IngramSpark Offer Zero Upgrades

With POD, you basically get what you get and, while you can pitch a fit, it won’t do any good. The POD model is all about keeping production costs down for them, while charging you a premium, which you then have to pass on to your client.

Here are just some of the upgrades you can add to your book if you choose offset printing. None of these are available with POD.

  • Foil
  • Spot UV
  • Embossing/Debossing
  • Texture
  • Glow-in-the-dark Ink
  • Duplex dustjacket (printing on the inside of the dustjacket for posters, maps, etc.)
  • Choice of binding tape
  • Custom endsheets

Conclusion

These are just a few of the reasons why POD is not the best option for the quality-minded author. I have many more points that I can cover with you during the self-publishing support session. We can cover more pros/cons, discuss funding options for your book, and give you the information you need to make the best decision for your project.

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