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Colour printing comes to POD

WritersServices Self-publishing

New opportunities for small colour editions.

Colour printing used to present problems for publishers. Any book required a major commitment of funds and a lot of paper had to run through the machines to ensure the colour separations were perfectly registered (i.e. matched). Very long print-runs were a necessity if unit cost were to be kept down but the long print-runs meant unit costs were remarkably low. 

It has not been easy for print-on-demand to match the price or technical challenge. But thanks to advances in paper and in laser printing technology it is now possible for POD to compete.

Print on demand can, of course, render images accurately, but the glossy or polished papers used for litho printing still have the edge on the matt finish of the POD process. But modern paper can have a near gloss and lasers can cope with the throughput to make it economic. It is now possible to publish POD books that will sell in the tens or hundreds rather than the tens of thousands that traditional colour printing demanded.

Using WritersServices Self-publishing, colour-printed books can have as few as 4 and as many as 480 pages. Books with fewer than 48 pages are saddle stitched making them robust enough to survive handling in the nursery.

Two trim sizes are available – 216x216 and 280x216. For comparison, a normal paperback is 203x127. 

The costs of printing are higher (twice the page cost) but most colour books are slimmer volumes.

If you are planning to use colour, use it on every page because you will be paying for it. (It is possible to insert colour plates into books but it does not work using the POD system).

Colour opens up opportunities and challenges for writers.

  • The technology opens up the possibilities for artists and writers who target younger readers where images are vital.
  • Text books requiring coloured images can now be produced in modest quantities.
  • The way is now open to tackle graphic novels or manga.
  • Cookery and gardening books are now feasible.
  • Colour is essential for many user and staff manuals.