By Ron Pramschufer, President , Self Publishing, Inc. – Helping Authors Become Publishers since 1995
First off, while most printers can print a book, only a small percentage of offset printers are book printers … a very small percentage. Now put yourself in the printer’s place for a minute. Would you rather deal with one print buyer who prints a thousand titles per year or a thousand print buyers with one title each? The answer to this should be obvious.
At last look there were only about forty book printers in the US. My definition of a book printer is a printer where 80% of the product produced by that company is books. While most of the world has “digital and ‘E’” clouding their thinking, offset printing … plate to blanket, ink on paper, is here and will always have a major place in the book printing world. The point where a print run is more efficient on an offset press vs. a digital press varies. The largest variable is the printing plant you happen to be talking to. If you are talking to a digital plant, the salesperson will tell you they are competitive up to 1500-2000 copies. If you talk to an offset printer, they will most likely say they are competitive down to 300-500 copies. Both of those statements are the truth although you may ask “how?” They are the truth because most printers will exaggerate their competitiveness because they don’t want to send you somewhere else, especially in the current economic conditions. The exception to this is SelfPublishing.com (also BooksJustBook.com and RJCom.com). The true breakeven point is around 500-600 copies. With the online instant pricing offered at theses websites, you can see instantly not only where the product shifts from digital to offset but what quantity you need to produce to achieve the unit cost you need. Advantage 1 … SelfPublishing.com
Let’s assume that you know you want to print an obvious offset quantity. You even manage to find an offset book printer. Can you go to this printer’s website and get an instant price? No. There might be a form to fill out to get a price but no instant pricing. Why do you think that is? Is SelfPublishing.com the only place with the PFM Technology to provide instant pricing? Fifteen years ago when we first put pricing online we may have been ahead of others in our technology, but in 2014? No way. Any printer, who wants to provide instant pricing, could provide instant pricing. Why don’t they? The answer is simple. They want to size you up and get as much money as the market will bear for your single book project. Remember my opening paragraph and put yourself in the printer’s place. The answer to the question in the first paragraph is that the printer would rather deal with one print buyer with a thousand titles than a thousand print buyers with one title. SelfPublishing.com represents that one customer with the thousand titles … a thousand titles from a thousand different authors. So the printer is happy with SelfPublishing.com but what does the printer give SelfPublishing in return? SelfPublishing.com receives pricing from the printers discounted deep enough that it can be resold back to the publisher at a lower price than the printer’s retail price. It’s a win-win situation. Advantage 2 … SelfPublishing.com.
It is no secret that we are in some pretty nasty economic times. Many printers have cut back shifts. Some have closed. Others have discounted pricing just to get work in the doors to delay laying people off or for cash flow to pay paper companies or ink companies. The old saying, “You can’t take a loss and make it up in volume” holds true here. While you might pick up a spot good deal it can’t last. The oldest trick in the book is for the printer to give permission to discount the price to get the work in the door but the salesperson is charged with raising the price back up to where it is supposed to be before the job actually ships. This is much easier than you might think. A change here and a change there and next thing you know … your low price turns into a high price. With SelfPublishing.com, you always get a consistent price. On the outside chance that you get a lower price from another printer, SelfPublishing will be able to match it 95% of the time, if you send the actual confirmation from the lower-priced printer. This comes from the strength of buying power of SelfPublishing.com, not the weakness of a “going out of business” sale. Advantage 3… SelfPublishing.com.
The last scenario that I am going to mention is a case where everything is exactly equal between printer X and SelfPublishing.com for the printing of a certain number of books. On the surface, it looks like a coin toss. It’s not. Printers are printers. Files come in and books go out. With SelfPublishing.com, book printing is like the hub of a wheel. The spokes going into the hub are the difference between SelfPublishing.com and any other book printer. These spokes include editorial services, cover design service, text layout, storage, fulfillment, e-book conversions, ISBN acquisition and most importantly, Thor POD Distribution. You might ask why you would want POD distribution if you are ordering an offset run. I’ll write another article on this subject in depth, but the Cliffs Notes version is “why not?” Even if you purchase a few thousand books, you don’t have enough to get one everywhere, even if you could. The POD distribution lists your book in 20,000 different wholesale and retail outlets. It is not meant to be your primary distribution but an excellent secondary distributor that costs nothing up front. SelfPublishing.com gets paid for this service, only if you sell books. It’s pennies from heaven, so to speak, because the profits from sales magically land in your PayPal account … monthly. And in many cases it’s much more than pennies. I send out the 1099′s. You only get a 1099 if you earned over $600. Your Thor sales do not take away a single copy from your regular sales. Another bonus with Thor is the ability to come back and order small quantities of books later on. This is most important when inventory starts getting low and you can’t quite make up your mind whether to do an offset reprint or not. With Thor Printing you can come back and order 10, 20, 50, 100 books and have them delivered in a week or so. Advantage 4 … SelfPublishing.com.
Did I mention the free website for your title? Advantage 5 … SelfPublishing.com.
Oh, don’t forget freight. SelfPublishing.com’s network includes offset printers in Minnesota, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina and California. Where are you and where are you shipping? It all adds up.
Hope I’ve made my case … for your offset printing needs … online Instant Pricing at www.selfpublishing.com.