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Digital print on demand – what it is and how to avoid stepping in it

June 29, 2016

Matthew Wright

Reports of the death of the print book seem to have been considerably exaggerated of late.

Wright_Bookshelf One of my bookshelves…

It’s been the usual thing: we suppose the ‘new’ – in this case, digital distribution – will totally replace the ‘old’. Actually, and as usual, they simply complement each other and print books have been rebounding.

One difference, though, is that back in the old days – you know, the early 2000s – book production was an expensive business because it involved offset printing, the standard tech for large-scale print production. The high setup costs per job for an offset printing machine meant that print runs had to be at least 1500 or 2000 to be efficient. The higher the run, the more the setup costs can be amortised across the whole job.

Fast-forward to 2016, and that offset calculation still holds good. But these machines have been joined by…

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