10 10 2017

Paper gives print books their distinctive appeal and affects what it feels like in our hands for every turn of the page.
Some printers provide few paper options.  CHG offers several varieties of text and cover stocks along with one-on-one support to assist you in making the best decision; all while keeping your target costs in mind.
Here are a few tips:
Coated or Uncoated Paper?
Matte or gloss paper has a coating applied during the manufacturing process.  This adds certain qualities to the paper including weight and surface texture that reduces
ink absorbency. Coated paper provides a much sharper image compared to uncoated paper.  The result is a crisp, clear image that represents full color images more accurately.
Coated papers require special binding adhesive called ‘PUR’ for softcover or adhesive hard-cover books. PUR glue reacts with the coating to ensure a secure binding.
Uncoated paper tends to have a coarser finish when compared to coated sheets. Using uncoated paper results in higher absorption of ink, giving images a softer, more muted look.

ShadeWhite or Natural?
Most coated papers are only available in white. Uncoated paper is available in white and natural (cream colored) shades. Both white and natural papers vary slightly in shade depending on the mill specification.
Thickness or Bulk
Thicker papers are suggested when ink coverage is heavy since they tend to be more opaque and have less show-through. Thicker papers can also help bulk up low page
count books which allows for a larger spine width.
Opaque paper tends to be brighter and smoother than standard uncoated sheets. Special pigments are added to increase opacity reducing show-through when ink coverage is heavy.
Digital VS Offset
Some of our house papers are better suited for offset printing than for digital printing. You can learn more by downloading our paper spec sheet and by emailing me with your questions.
If you are not sure which paper is best suited for your project, that’s ok! From selecting the right paper to choosing the right binding style, I am a call or click away, ready help navigate you through every step of the process.
CHG does 99% of my printing, call me with questions…

What Is the Quality & Cost of Digital Book Printing Today? By Ellen Harvey

9 03 2016


26 02 2013

On Saturday March 9, 2013 I will be the Guest Speaker for the Northern California Publishers and Authors Association.

Attendance is free, if you would like more information about attending, please contact me.  I will be speaking on the Five Things You Need To Understand About Book Printing:  How to make a savvy print buying decision.


24 07 2011

Please remember this: when you publish a badly written, badly proofed,

badly edited book, you don’t just make yourself look bad,

you make all self-published authors look bad.

Readers are becoming increasingly sensitive to self-publishing and have no

reticence to give very bad reviews to badly constructed books.

As a self-publisher commit to the highest standards possible.

(provided by Kathleen at Parlez-Moi Press via Dan Poynter’s eNewsletter)

Five Things You Need to Understand About Book Printing, Part 2

15 10 2010


If your have been told to send an RFQ to 20 printers, you are wasting your time and will be more confused than you ever dreamed.  It is recommended that you narrow the number of printers down to 3-5.  Understand that printers have many different types of presses and each of those presses is designed for certain trim sizes and run lengths.  Choose the right printer/equipment/specifications for your project; below is a quick guide to the types of decisions you will need to make.

Printing type:

*Digital printing is designed for runs of 1-1000 copies depending on the page count.  Digital equipment is either roll stock or sheets, when a roll is used, the speed of printing is faster (this is okay for longer runs, text only, not so hot for quality).  Also, if you have halftones, roll printing is not recommended if you expect high quality reproduction or color.

*Offset:  The three types of printing are Non-heat set (roll), heat set (roll), highest quality Sheetfed; see below for a discussion of each type.

Non-heat set, web:  Ink is applied to paper, perfs and folds down into signatures.

(pros)  Efficient pricing for runs over 1000

(cons)  Ink is wet when sigs are folded, some offsetting may occur (ink on the facing page) and ink may appear slightly grey, however the quality is acceptable.

Heat set, web:  Ink is applied to paper, paper goes through a dryer, then it perfs and folds down into signatures.

(pros)  Efficient pricing for runs over 1000.  Ink density of black is good, providing a sharper/crisper image (photo) and type.

(cons)  When ink is introduced to paper, moisture goes into the paper causing it to expand.  When the paper proceeds through the dryer, the moisture is removed which causes to paper to contract.  This process can sometimes create what is called “web growth”.  That means that if, after the book has been trimmed, it is exposed to moisture, the paper can once again expand leaving the text exposed slightly beyond the cover.  Of course, we aren’t too concerned about humidity in the desert; however, you have to consider where the book is being printed.  Does the climate there tend to be humid, did the delivery truck pass thru any areas where it was raining, etc.  This is not a huge concern, however I believe it is important for you to understand the possibility of web growth.

Sheetfed:  Highest quality of printing.  (Most covers are printed by this method).

(pros) Control of ink density, color matches, high quality photo reproduction.

(cons)  Cost efficient for runs over quantities of 500 (depending on page count). Prices tend to be higher for this method of printing, however, if you shop carefully, some printers are able to print at prices comparable to web.  This is the first choice for coffee table books.

PAPERS:  Printers have different “house” stocks, so ask for a recommendation, which can save you money.  You should check paper weights, opacity and bulk (ppi), etc.  Note that if you choose a special order stock, there may be a lead time of 2 or more weeks.  If you choose a special order stock, please make sure to sign your quote and get it to the printer prior to submitting your files in order to keep your schedule on track.  Quotes are normally good for 30 days only to allow for changes in paper pricing.

BINDING:  Standard bindings are saddle stitch, perfect bound and case bound.

(case bound: round back, flat back, adhesive or smythe sewn, this method of binding as well as optional bindings will require additional manufacturing time)

Optional:  Wire-O, Spiral Wire, Plasti-coil, Otabind, Semi-concealed Wire-O, etc.

(optional bindings can be quite expensive)

(Prices for embossing and foil stamping are based on the image area).

COATINGS:  Varnish, Aqueous, UV and lay flat film lamination.

  • Ask your printer for recommendation on choices that fit your budget.  Every time you consider a binding choice, ask yourself:  “is this binding going to realistically affect the sale of my book or am I cutting in to my profit margin?”  Sometimes it is better to start out basic and improve the features of your design when the book has proven saleable and you have the additional dollars in your budget.  Remember, you should be working with design professionals while preparing your book; it is not the printer’s job to make design recommendations after the files have been submitted.

This is a brief overview of the printing process, so please:

  • Ask for more details from your printing professional.
  • Ask about their best trim sizes and run lengths.
  • Ask if you can request reprint pricing on your original RFQ.
  • Ask if they are printing in 16 or 32 page signatures (some presses do run 24 and 48 page sigs).  Best rule of thumb, design your book to be equally divisible by 16, again, please talk to the printer before sending an RFQ to make sure they are a good fit for your project.  Choosing a printer should never be based on pricing alone; consider the level of customer service you will receive, are they known for good quality, meeting deadlines, good customer interaction, willingness to make suggestions to save you money and are they giving you the same treatment that their large Publishers are receiving.

Five Things You Need to Understand About Book Printing

14 07 2010

Today, as an introduction to The Book Expert, I’m going to start the first part of a five-part series, a reprint of a report I wrote for the members of Arizona Book Publisher’s Association. See below!

If you would like to receive a full copy of this report, please email me @

Five Things You Need to Understand About Book Printing, Part 1

14 07 2010


You’ve finally written your first book, now what? Please make sure that you find an editor, book and cover designer that “specializes” in working with books. Be certain to interview them, get samples of their work and talk to their references before making your choice. Ensure that they are willing to “communicate” with your printer of choice, to make sure that the files (see #3 below) are prepared to the printer’s guidelines. (File preparation instructions should be found on your printer’s website). Experienced book & cover designers should understand that some design features can be very expensive (make sure they are aware of your budget) or a manufacturing nightmare. An enticing book cover will typically generate 80% of the sales of the book, so the front, back and spine should be equally interesting.