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  1. JLT

    JLT Contributing Member

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    POD books vs. conventional printing -- is the print quality there yet?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by JLT, Apr 24, 2016.

    When I first started investigating the Print-On-Demand market about ten years ago, one of the stumbling blocks for me was that the quality of POD books just wasn't up to the standards of conventionally printed books. There were stories of blurred text, bindings that fell apart after a year or so, and so on. That was why I decided to have 1500 copies of the books printed by a company whose quality I trusted.

    I'm not hearing as many of these stories lately, but they still crop up from time to time. Is there any substance to them? How do you folks who have had POD books published feel about the quality of the print or binding job you received?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have to be careful with the formatting - that's what I've found hardest to get right in my POD books. Making them look like a "professionally" published book can be tricky. But once they've been formatted properly I've not had problems with the printing or binding.
     
  3. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm perfectly happy with mine - I went through CreateSpace.

    The easiest way to check production quality is just to get some, though. Buy a book through CreateSpace, Lulu, anyone else you're considering. See how solid they feel when they're actually in your hands.
     
  4. JLT

    JLT Contributing Member

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    A little follow-up:
    I talked with a gentleman who operates an independent book-store here in Sacramento. He said that the binding quality of the POD books he's seen seems to be equivalent to the usual "perfect" binding of most paperbacks. But the text quality often sucks, because a lot of the POD books are simply out-of-copyright books that people have scanned and re-issued under their own imprint, coffee stains and all. He thinks that this may be what's giving POD books a bad name.
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    People who scan old books like that do end up with bad print quality. If you have a book you wrote yourself and are uploading the PDF or Word file, or whatever, the print quality is just fine.
     
  6. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I've never had a problem with my POD books from Createspace. They look, feel and smell like regular trad books. Formatting was a huge learning curve and getting the facing pages and various pages at the beginning of the book were a bit on a pain in the ass, but for the most part it was pretty straight forward and produced some really good results.

    The brilliant thing about POD, is that if I buy three books, and notice an error, I can log on, make the amendment and know that within 24 hours (48 at the most) the edited version is available and I don't have to consign a print run of 1500 units to the bin and then find the cash to replace them.
     
    Catrin Lewis and JLT like this.
  7. JLT

    JLT Contributing Member

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    I never did update this, and I think it's time I did.

    I have two copies of one of my books in front of me. Both are "trade" paperbacks with color covers and black and white interiors. The first was conventionally printed by a printing company. The second is a Print-On-Demand via CreateSpace. You'd have to look hard to see the differences ... the color intensity of the cover is a bit reduced on the POD sample, and the black-and-white halftone pictures seem a tad muddier. And it's my impression that the cover of the POD is a little more liable to curling when it's humid.

    I might add that when I got back the proof of the POD, the half-tones were a lot muddier, even though I submitted the same PDF version that I sent the original printers. It turned out that the illustrations were of lower resolution than CreateSpace recommended. When I re-submitted the illustrations at the higher resolution, the results were acceptable.
     

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