There are two basic types of printing jobs, as anybody who has ever published a book will tell you. Naturally, this raises the question over which one is better and more cost-efficient. Printing experts will say that one does not really have an advantage over the other. If you are looking for a best option to print your book, the decision will have to be made based on how many you are planning to print, the content and your budget.

But, first, let’s understand what offset printing and digital printing are all about.

Offset Printing

This is one of the most widely used methods if you’re going for high volume prints. It is also one of the oldest and goes back to more than a century. How does it work?

First, the text or image is burned onto a metallic plate via a computerized machine. This plate is then placed on a cylindrical roller in the offset press, after which water and ink are added. The ink adheres to the part where the text or image appear while the water is responsible for protecting the other parts of the roll so the ink doesn’t get transferred to the second cylinder. The latter is covered with rubber. The paper is then fed under the roller so it is transferred. If you know how stamps work, this is pretty much like that, only in machine mode.

Digital

If you’re going for short run, lower volume prints, a digital press is more practical. A toner-based device, it requires less time and resources to set up. This makes it more cost-effective for low quantity output, making the likes of print-on-demand all the more possible. If you’re a freelancer looking to just publish a few dozen copies of your book, digital printing is the practical choice.

Offset vs Digital Printing

While the initial cost of setup is high with offset printing jobs, the fact that it can handle a bigger volume means that the per-unit cost of each book becomes lower. Another reason to go for offset is that it is more flexible towards different types of paper. Offset printers have a wider scope when it comes to texture, size and weight. Meanwhile, digital printers are limited in size and capacity.

However, if you are looking for a fast solution to small jobs, digital presses are the way to go. Because of the shorter preparation time and the fact that it’s computerized, turnover is shorter. Again, this applies to relatively smaller runs. Digital prints also have no need for drying period, unlike offset.

Thus, if you’re making the choice between digital and offset, these are the most important questions to ask.

1 – How many books do you need to print?
2 – Are you using standard sized papers or do you have unique size and texture requirements?
3 – Do you need an exact match on your colors?

If you’re still unsure about what’s best for your needs, our team of experts will gladly give unbiased advice to help your maximize your resources. Give us a call now.