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Book Printing and Binding - How to easily print your hardcover and paperback book

Before you can hold your book in your hands, it has to be printed. And for that, you not only need to think about how the finished book should look, but also what services you expect from the print shop. What decisions need to be made before the book is printed and how do you choose the right provider?

Important decisions before the printing of the book

Before you even think about where you want to have your book printed, you should think about how you want it to look. What format should it have? Is hardcover or softcover better? What types of paper are available and to what extent is the genre decisive for the book's design?

What types of binding are there in letterpress?

Whether as a noble hardcover or practical paperback, with flaps and highlights or kept very simple. There are different options when it comes to the design of the cover. While hardcover books have a hard cover, the softcover is characterized by a more flexible cover. Hardcovers are particularly robust, but are also more expensive than paperbacks due to the higher material and time required for production. Paperbacks, on the other hand, with a cover made of thin cardboard, are cheaper and handier because - as the name suggests - they are designed to fit in your pocket. To what extent the production price changes depending on the cover, you can check with the Price calculator investigate.

The cover you choose depends on the genre of your book and the readers you want to appeal to. A hardcover edition looks high-quality and appeals to collectors in particular. It also doesn't hurt to choose the sturdy cover for cookbooks or children's books. Softcovers, on the other hand, are lighter, easier to handle and cheaper and are therefore particularly interesting for frequent readers or for readers who take their books with them on the go. According to a 2020 survey, just under a quarter of participants from German-speaking countries said they mainly buy paperbacks exclusively, whereas hardcovers are preferred by only about eight percent. (Source: Statista)

Book printing with which type of binding?

Not only the binding is crucial for the book printing, but you should also consider in which way you want to print the have the inside bound want. Whether plain, flat open or long lasting: Here again it depends on what kind of book you are equipping. The most common method is perfect binding. Whether it's for mystery novels, travel guides or non-fiction, perfect binding is ideal for titles with a large number of pages and is also inexpensive. Thread stitching, on the other hand, is a particularly high-quality and stable method. It is durable and books bound in this way can be opened flat without falling shut again. This binding is especially used for cookbooks, picture books or photo books. Staple binding or ring binding are more suitable for books with a small number of pages, i.e. for brochures or booklets.

In which format can a book be printed?

Books come in almost all sizes. While novels or guidebooks are often printed and bound in standard formats, the formats for family albums or children's books are quite individual. Which format suits your book depends on both the genre and the target group. Just a look at your bookshelf or in a bookstore will help. What do other books in this category look like? It also depends on whether you want to print it as a trophy for your shelf or publish it at the same time. Let the printer or the self-publishing provider advise which format is suitable for your title.

What types of paper are available for letterpress printing?

There are also differences in the choice of material. Printers often offer different types of paper. Basically, a distinction can be made between uncoated papers with a rough surface and coated papers with a smooth surface. Uncoated papers are, for example, recycled paper and natural papers with an open-pored surface and have a natural feel. This makes them particularly suitable for text-heavy books. Coated papers are, for example, matt or glossy picture papers, which you should choose especially if there are many graphics and photographs in your book. The paper also speaks to a sturdy picture book for children. It's best to order paper samples from the printers or have a test print of the book made at tredition.

How can I print my book cheaply?

The price for your book will change depending on the layout, type of cover, size and number of pages you choose. Do you need a lot of color pages or is a black and white print enough? Do you use a standard format or do you want to customize it? Basically, the more you deviate from the standard, the higher the price will be. The print run is also crucial for your total costs. Most printers and self-publishers usually give a discount the more books you print. Also, how many pages your book has and how much paper is needed for printing is crucial. Likewise, you can minimize costs by using a standard format, a soft cover, and a few color pages. The number of colour pages has a big impact on printing costs. So make sure you check beforehand whether they are really necessary and have as many monochrome pages as possible printed in black.

Also, the less service, the lower the price. If a print shop or self-publishing service provider offers low-priced prints, it's usually because you have fewer configuration options and also receive little additional support through tools such as a cover designer or integrated marketing services. You should consider what services you value before choosing a provider. If you only want to print the book for your shelf, you don't need any special features or help with the printing process. marketing-stuff. But if you want to reach a specific target group and make yourself visible on the book market, such services can be crucial.

Find the right printer for your book

Where you have your book printed depends entirely on what you need it for and what you want to equip it with. Not every print shop offers the same configuration options. And if you want to publish your book after it's printed, a publisher or self-publishing service provider may be the right path for you.

Where can I get my book printed?

If you want to publish your book as well as print it, it can make sense to go through a publisher or self-publishing provider. A publishing house offers the author many advantages. These include professional editing or distribution in bookstores. Finding one, however, is a major challenge. Only 0.5 % of all submitted manuscripts are published by Publishers published. They also rarely offer their authors a free hand in the design and production of their own book. And it's this control that many self-publishing authors find particularly important, according to a 2016 survey, which is why they chose this route. (Source: Statista). More and more authors are therefore turning to self-publishing service providers like tredition. Since 2015, the number of new self-publishing publications on the German-speaking market has been growing steadily.

If you are only interested in having your book printed and bound, you can rely on the services of printing companies. It's up to you whether you choose an online service provider that offers inexpensive print products or a local print shop with personal service and high print quality. However, you have to take care of the graphically appealing and technically flawless creation of the print data yourself.

What should I look for when choosing a printer?

To find the right provider for printing your book, think about which criteria are particularly important. Do you also want to be able to print small editions or even single copies? Many self-publishing providers, such as tredition, work without a minimum print run. Through the Print on demand-The books are only printed when they are ordered. Do you have enough options and are the formats or materials available that you want for your book? Also, some online printing companies offer the option of designing your book directly online, without having to choose, for example, the Cover design with a graphics program. For example, tredition provides you with numerous templates.

Make sure that the printing company offers you a test print. When designing book's typesetting and book cover or the preparation of the print data - without professional help - a lot can quickly go wrong. This already starts with small things, because the color of your cover image looks different on the screen than in a printed version. Avoid such mistakes with a test print.

Preparation for printing

After you have decided how your book should look like and you have found a suitable print provider, the preparation for printing follows. This means: book typesetting, page layout, font and size. For this you can Checklists help or templateswhich are already adapted accordingly. Many printers require a PDF file that has been created according to certain criteria (print specification). However, some providers can also handle a Word, Pages or Open Office file, which is automatically converted to a print-ready PDF before printing.

Not only does the inside of the book need to be designed, but it also needs a book cover. For the cover you can get help from professionals who design the book according to your wishes. Alternatively, you can try it out yourself or, depending on the provider, use a cover designer. Here there are not only templates, also automatically the ISBN and you can easily create texts and graphics.

How long does letterpress printing take?

If all the print data is ready, a book can be printed and dispatched by an online print shop within a week. In the case of large print runs, smaller print shops or particularly full order books, such as during the Christmas season, production can also take several weeks. Self-publishers who rely on modern print-on-demand production regularly achieve production times of 24 to 48 hours (Book Report 2020). In addition, there is only the duration of delivery.

The publication after printing

After printing is before publishing. With a self-publishing provider, these two steps are separated by only a few clicks. If you have already designed your book, the publication will not take a minute. If you want your title to have an ISBN and be available in bookstores, you can consider publishing it directly. After all, it's already designed and, thanks to the print-on-demand process, you don't have to order a print run to your home. The motivation to publish your own book can be multifaceted. In a Europe-wide study at the University of Applied Management in Erding in 2019, over 78 % of the authors surveyed said they wanted to develop themselves or entertain readers with their book. Over 60 % want to enlighten or impart knowledge. Should you also consider not just keeping your work to yourself, you can publish it with just one click.


Depending on who you want to have your book printed and bound for, you should pay attention to different criteria when choosing the equipment and printing company. Are you designing it for your circle of friends or do you want to publish it? In addition to the target group, the genre also plays a role in the layout of the title. Once you've navigated your way through the jungle of book types, bindings, formats, paper types, printing techniques and printers, you'll soon be able to hold your book in your hands. And don't forget to get a test print in advance to avoid mistakes.


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