Despite the modern trends of blogging, Twitter, and other instantaneous internet based communication, books have not yet gone out of style. They have broad appeal across generations, don’t require any special equipment or technology, and offer a comforting feeling that only hard copy printed material can offer. Authors looking to have their books printed must navigate the complex waters of book printing. Transforming your manuscript into a printed book involves a long decision-making process that will greatly affect the success of your book.
The first consideration is to choose the size of the book, which reflects its purpose. Mass market paper backs are just 4.25” by 7”. Bigger sizes are appropriate for trade books, handbooks, fiction, manuals, textbooks, and coffee table books. You must also decide between a softcover or hardcover exterior. Though hardcover is more expensive, a laminated hardcover finish greatly enhances the appearance of a book.
Once you’ve picked a size, the next factor is the book printing method. The most popular methods of book printing are lithograph printing and digital printing. Lithograph printing involves a printing plate mounted to a cylinder which produces outstanding quality text and images. Unfortunately, it is relatively expensive for shortruns. Digital printing is less expensive for smaller quantities and recent technology advances have made its quality comparable to lithography.
Another determining aspect of your book is its binding. There are a number of standard types of binding. Perfect book binding glues the outside edge to create a flat bound surface, which is great for books and other material. Saddle stitch and side stitch binding utilizes staples in the fold, which is appropriate for booklets and brochures. For hardcover books, the highest quality binding is casebook binding.
Perhaps the most important decision you must make relating to printing your book is the design of the cover. The spine and cover of a book must be eye catching, interesting, and aesthetically appealing in order to get noticed on the shelf. The design is critical in attracting the attention of consumers and directly affects whether they will notice your book and investigate it further. Design can be the ultimate make or break factor in the commercial success of your book.