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Print-on-Demand vs Offset Printing

The last ten years—even the last five—have seen game-changing developments in printing technology. Even if print-on-demand has been around longer than that, we’re now seeing these digital machines produce exquisite quality.

Advanced inkjet technology now creates pages and covers that are nearly identical to those created with traditional offset printing, offering incredible advantages to self-publishers. How can you make sure you’re getting the most return out of it? 

Print on Demand Explained: Print on demand uses similar technology to an office laser printer to print books one at a time. Electric drums put toner on paper. 


  • Logistically easy for the author
  • Low Risk
  • Able to iterate and make changes. 
  • Inexpensive startup cost
  • Fast


  • Expensive on a per unit basis. 
  • Reduced printing options (Fancy paper, embossing, etc))
  • Only two companies to pick from Amazon KDP Print and Ingram Spark. Almost all others are just reselling those two. So if you are not getting bids from those two, and your bids seam high, that may be the reason. 

Offset Printing Explained: Offset printing uses metal plates to apply ink to the paper. There are a lot of companies that do offset printing. 


  • Scales well. Use the same metal sheets over and over.
  • Cheap on a per unit basis.
  • Lots of flexibility on paper options and whatnot. 


  • Slow
  • Proofing is very important.
  • Logistically complex. You will need to hire Ingram or one of their competitors to help with distribution.


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