How to Cut Print Costs AND Make Your Book Stand Out

It is possible to save money on print without sacrificing quality...
A pile of books

A couple of questions I often get asked are…..

How can I make my book stand out but keep costs down?”

“How can I cut costs without cutting corners?”

Publishers have a set of challenges within a dynamic, ever-changing industry, but the challenge that always seems to be at the forefront is balancing quality, competitive pricing and run lengths. In an effort to achieve quality at the best price to match what needs to be deliverable, publishers can often feel backed into a corner with very limited choices. What they may not know is that they have many more choices than they think.

As a specialist print broker of paperbacks and hardbacks, long and short runs, colour and mono, we’ve written a short blog to show publishers that it is possible to get both the quality you desire and at the price that you want, it just takes a little understanding of the print process.

How to save money on book print

1. Understand the basics of the print process

The key to saving money on book print is understanding the print process, it really is that simple (but at the same time, complicated)… Let me explain.

Every single printer is different. Most will cover only a small area of the print process so they will only have machines specific and suitable for a particular job. This means that, when it comes to types of printing, quantities, and format sizing, your options are limited to the machines that your chosen printer have in the plant which often means you’re not getting the print that you want at the most cost-effective price.

old fashioned printing press

With so many machines and processes over so many sites (and often continents too), I understand that it is complicated and time-consuming to get it right every time – let alone being confident of the quality and timing of your new choices.

That’s where a specialist broker like us comes in.

We are partnered with printers that cover all print production across the UK, Europe and the Far East. This means that we have access to every conceivable type of printing press, cover finishing and binding, so that you can get exactly what you want and at a far more affordable price. To put it simply, it’s all about putting the right product on the right machine.

Choices for:

  • Paperback, Hardback, Mono, Colour – all different machines
  • Long run, Medium run, Short run, Print On Demand – all different processes
  • UK, Europe, Far East – all different considerations
  • Web print, Digital print, Inkjet print, Litho print – all possible options

Book print jobs could easily fit into just 1 of 50 possible options to get the right job on the right press.

It really is that simple. Just by understanding that we have access to every type of printing equipment, you can now be sure that you’re getting the best solution for every type of book print that you want, every time. Suddenly you’ve gone from compromising on quality and cutting costs to having every option that you can imagine available to you and at the most competitive prices.

2. Stick to standard paper and trim size (when you have the right job on the right press)

While it is possible to accommodate non-standard paper and trim sizes, doing so will run up your costs. For example, when it comes to trim sizes, non-standard sizes will often result in the uneconomical use of paper and extra trim work (which will cost you more). When it comes to non-standard paper, for example paper with higher grammage, although it has better quality and feel, this can have a big impact on price.

A hardback booking lying open

Why choose Standard Paper?

Standard house papers are bought in bulk at special rates. Things like currency conversation, stock holding and large quantities purchased, make a huge impact on the cost. The mills produce massive amounts to pre-order and ship in bulk: that’s why choosing a house paper will save you money.

If you are making a decision for something specialist to stand out or make a point, then it’s still worth considering. Other paper options will be bespoke and specialist (and therefore more expensive), but if you want to save some money, then house paper will do the job.

Why choose a Standard Trim Size?

Unless you need particular specs, it makes more economical sense to stick to standard industry sizing. Printing presses and finishing machines are manufactured to use standard paper sizes and therefore standard trim sizes, so these specs are most cost-effective. Even sticking with standard formats though, you need to be careful. Different types of machines will be set for different sizes so seeking out the right press is again important if you want to save money.

You may still decide to have a bespoke size for aesthetics or just to be different. That’s fine and possible to do, just the paper waste and production process will make it more expensive.

printing press

Paperback books – A few sample standards (remember your printer may not have the right press for these standards)

  • A Format: 178mm x 111mm
  • B Format: 198mm x 129mm (most common trim size)
  • Demy: 216mm x 135mm
  • Royal: 234mm x 153mm

Tips for making your book stand out

Most people asking “how can I make my book stand out but still keep costs down?” don’t want to spend money on finishes and cover design. That’s understandable, but if you’re saving money by simply understanding the print process, then it would be a waste not to put this surplus to good use.

If you want your book to stand out, you have to be creative with the aesthetics and feel of the book, so this is where the mindset needs to change. Do you want to keep compromising on quality to save money? Or do you want to still save money and get the quality that you want?

As you save money on your print, you can now spend more on making sure that your book stands out. If you make the right choices here, you will still end up saving. Here are some tips to making your book stands out:

  1. Get the cover design right – contrary to what is said, and you know, we all judge a book by its cover so investing in great design is key. You want to be sure that you’re communicating the right message as this is the first thing that the buyer will see and judge your content on. Remember, a picture says a thousand words!
  2. Focus more on the finish – while the design of your book is crucial to making sure that it gets picked up by the right hands, it is the finish that really makes it stand out from the rest. Before opting for the most cost-effective options, take a moment to think about the user and how the simple feel of the book can immediately signal quality and luxury or quirky and bold. Consider all the ultra-modern finishing options available to you before making your final decision (e.g. foil blocking, high-gloss varnish, acrylic varnish, soft-touch laminate, multi-level embossing, SuperMatt embossing, UV glitter varnish and 3D varnish etc).
book with glitter cover design

Save money on publishing by making better choices

You don’t have to cut corners to cut costs or compromise quality when it comes to your publishing, you just have to make smarter decisions. By understanding the print process, you can save money on your print and then invest some of this back into your book to ensure that it stands out. This ensures that you’re spending money on the areas that make the most impact!


Want to know more about how to save money on book print?

As we specialise in the print of both paperbacks and hardbacks at Xpedient BookPrint, whatever the type of binding or finish you are looking for we can help you decide on the most cost-effective, project-specific solution. Long run or short run with production in the UK and overseas, we can support your needs within budget and exceed your quality expectations.

Get in touch:

E: [email protected]

T: 01792 475149


Let us know if you have any questions…