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Digital and Offset Book Printing in Self-Publishing: What’s the Difference?

June 09, 2020 (Last Updated February 19, 2021)

Marcy G.

When you plan to self-publish, it takes a lot of personal research to decide what kind of services you need. If you search book printing options, you often are presented with two different kinds: digital or offset. Here, we will outline the differences between the two so you can plan your self-publishing journey.


Offset printing:

Offset printers transfer text and images from a plate to a rubber blanket, then finally to the printing surface. This lithographic method uses water and oil via ink rollers

Offset printing is best suited for large runs, typically 2,000 books or more.  This is where offset printing can benefit you if you consistently need to produce at high volumes.


Digital printing: 

Digital printing uses high-volume laser or inkjet printers that transfer text and images directly from digital files. This results in a quicker turnaround time because you do not need to replace printing plates like you would with an offset printer.

48 Hour Books offers digital book printing services. The great thing about digital printing is you can print smaller runs. For example, our minimum order is 10 books. We don't have a maximum quantity, we can print tens of thousands if you'd like.

We can print and ship up to 500 books at a time, but if you wish to order more than this amount, we will ship the first 500, then ship another 500 books the following day, and so on. In some cases, depending on the size of your book and the page count, we can ship more than 500 books. If you have questions about printing large runs, contact us, and we will calculate how many books can be printed and shipped for you!


Want to see our digital book printing process up close? Check out how our books are made!  

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