Category Archives: Digital Short Run Printing

What We Do: Digital Short Run Edition

In this installment of our continuing What We Do series, I’ll cover Digital Short Run Printing. What it means to us, how we use it, and how it can help you control inventory, reduce print costs, and meet demand for your print books.

The first basic thing to know is the difference between Print On Demand (POD) and Digital Short Run (DSR). They’re similar, but not identical. Both use essentially the same digital presses, but they use them in different ways. We’ll cover POD in detail in another post, but for our purposes here, you only need to know that POD prints to fill a specific order placed by a customer, while DSR prints a quantity of stock for storage in the warehouse in advance of actual orders. In that way, DSR bridges the gap between offset and POD printing.

What DSR printing enables you to do is print short runs for storage at good prices. Those prices can vary based on spec and quantity, obviously, so see the contacts page to get an estimate.

We primarily use DSR printing when a title is moving fast enough to warrant something more than straight POD (because the unit cost on POD can be higher), but not quite fast enough to justify the higher quantities needed by offset printing.

We’ve seen DSR be most effective in the 200-1500 copy range. That is if you’re selling a quantity in that area for your print cycle, you may want to consider DSR printing as means to meet that demand. Of course spec, list price and your own needs can affect that decision, so we encourage you to review your sales projections carefully and then get an estimate for a quantity that works for you. Just as we do with ebooks, we’ve secured very competitive digital print pricing that can benefit you.

So what kinds of books can be printed digitally? Almost any kind that can be printed offset. There are some restrictions on paper stock and other materials to help keep the costs down and the turnarounds quicker, but lithocase, dustjacket, paperback, and 4-color interiors are all available. The trade-off from offset is faster schedules and better prices on shorter runs.

So how do you get your book printed DSR? Well the first step is to secure a print estimate for your title. That can be done via this link (nbnbooks.com). Once you’ve received your estimate and decide to move forward, you’ll need to supply us with a print source. We can take your print PDFs (don’t forget to send us cover and text) or a printed book to scan. Depending on what you have available, we’ll supply you with a method to send it. For files, we prefer ftp transfer and for print books we can either get a copy from our warehouse (if we have any in stock) or you can ship a copy to us.

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