Picking a printer

The first decision, of course, was whether I wanted the expense of a print run for YLO at all. Plenty of the authors I’ve been in contact with who are self-publishing don’t bother, saying they’re happy enough being e-books only (and insisting that they aren’t cheapskating!) or that there’s a perfectly adequate alternative for the few physical copies they require in the form of print-on-demand services from Amazon and the like. And I have to admit, shipping costs to countries outside Europe are so prohibitive for me that this may be the cheaper option for many readers.

I did want a print run of some kind, though. Vanity, perhaps, but after all the effort I’ve put in I want a physical book and I want it to look good. The cover by Mike Beckom is excellent, with the logo and author’s name just right for embossing as a nice extra touch.

So I went looking: two or three random picks off the net plus two or three recommendations from small publishers who I do translation work for.

  • The range of offers I got for exactly the same requirements was really quite surprising: a factor of three. So it’s definitely worth shopping around!
  • The unit price goes down as the number of copies goes up, as would be expected. It’s the way it positively plummets that is striking: the unit price can halve between a tiny print run and a small one, and halve again for a large one.
  • Extras like embossing on the cover, a four-colour full-wrap cover, using FSC paper and a laminated gloss finish are all available if you ask from pretty much all the printers. The first of these varied a lot in price, incidentally, from adding pennies to the unit price through to adding over 10% extra.
  • It may be a bigger thing in Europe than the USA and elsewhere, but I’d quite like to be able to put the FSC logo on the inside. State my green credentials. However, it turns out that this depends not on any agreement the publisher makes or on the use of FSC-approved paper of on the manufacturer of the paper, but on the printer having a certificate.

But the choice has now been made and it was sent to the printer yesterday!

3 thoughts on “Picking a printer

  1. It’s still going to take a while – nothing seems quite as easy as it should be.

    The printer wants the cover to be bigger, with a sacrificial margin round the outside for the cutting. Would have been nice to know that beforehand.
    The relief printing requires a separate b/w image in the same format, with the embossed in black. Again, that could have been prepared in advance if known.
    And they’d prefer the texts and barcode in full black (K rather than C+M+Y); doesn’t matter much for the small digital print run but would for any screen-printed one later.

    I’ll keep you posted…


  2. After the inevitable hassles arranging the exact sizing, embossing for the front cover and so forth, the printer has now been given the green light.


    1. The quoted ten working days, however, seems to be stretching considerably. I reckon I keep getting “bumped” for more urgent jobs… we’ve now been told 8-Oct, so that’s getting closer to a month. Damn.


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