Want the best printing quote? Get your checklist right

We’ve talked about different types of binding, but what of printing? Of all the elements of book publishing, printing is one of the costliest. I’m not an author, but I do know how costly printing is after ‘publishing’ a commemorative brochure or my parents’ 25th anniversary. The key here is to have a chat with the printer and see how you can get the best quote.


The first thing that needs to be done is the planning. Even if you have a particular design, shape and size in mind for the book, you need to sit down with the printer to make sure that the design fits in with their requirements. When you get the specifications right – like the fonts, file formats, trim sizes and half-tone adjustments – you will be able to avoid delays, save time and money, avoid wasting materials and get the best print job done.


Let the printer know beforehand exactly how many book you want printed. During printing, there are always some ‘overs and unders’. This is because printing cannot be stopped at the number you have ordered and has to be some allowances for spoilage when the press is ‘warming up’. The extras, if not spoiled, will be offered to you at a discount, while any that are will be deducted from the final bill.


You need to tell the printer how many pages are in the book, what kind of paper you want, whether you want a gloss finish and so on. Paper happens to be one of the most expensive materials that go into printing. Printers usually have their own supply of paper, and it will be more cost-effective for you to go with one of the ‘in-house’ brands.


You also need to choose the kind of binding you would like for the book: for example whether you want it to be perfect (soft) bound, hardbound, spiral, or stapled. If you want hardbound covers, be careful when choosing the type/brand of cloth for the cover as cover cloth is expensive


You will need to share what kind of color and ink you want; whether the cover will be printed on the inside and outside; whether you want the same quality of ink to be used throughout the book or not.


Most importantly, you will need to let the printer know when you expect the order to be delivered, and where. Let the printer know if you want the books delivered to your residence or if you will organize delivery yourself? Printers usually use a freight company and have an understand with them, so using their service will probably be cheaper than arranging your own delivery.


At the end of the day, you need to iron out all details, and understand them before signing on the dotted line. Do your research before asking for a quote: if a printer realizes that you are clueless about printing you will end up with a higher quote and be none the wiser. It is also prudent for you to go with a printer who understands what you want and with whom you are comfortable.

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