Putting it All Together: Book Printing

As an author, you’ve put lots of thought into the writing of your book. But how much thought have you given to the physical makeup and look of your book? If you are self-publishing, you’ll have an endless amount of options. In most cases, your choice will be based on the genre of book you are publishing and your budget.

Hardcover or Softcover?

Paperback books will be the most cost-effective. Hardcover makes a beautiful presentation for a special edition. Or, you could choose to do both.

What Kind of Binding?

Perfect paperback, spiral, concealed spiral, saddle stitch. If you’re doing a cookbook, you could choose a spiral binding to make it easy to flip the pages.

Color or Black & White Ink?
Fiction novel? Black and white fits best in the budget for books with higher page counts. Children’s book? Go with full color.


White, natural or color.  Heavy or lightweight. Glossy or matte. One factor that may affect your choice is whether or not your book includes photos or illustrations. In that case white paper is best.

With today’s print on-demand services, you don’t need to print lots of books at a time. See if your publishing support provider offers print on-demand for your online selling — nothing gets printed until there’s an order!

A mistake I often see self-publishers make is printing too many copies in their first or second run. You might think you’re getting a good deal if you get a lower price per book when you order two hundred, five hundred, or even a thousand copies. But if after that you find something you want to change then you’re left with lots of the “old” version of your book.

I always recommend printing no more than twenty-five copies in the first run. Share those copies with family and friends to get feedback and reviews, and then you can make corrections one last time before you print a large batch. Trust me, 99% of authors I have worked with find something they want to change after their first print run.