Digital Versus Offset Book Printing – What’s the Difference?

In the world of book printing, authors, organizations, and others seeking to produce books have two primary options — offset and digital. Since everyone has different desires for their books, there is no definitive answer as to which is the better choice. Instead, weighing the qualities of each can help you determine which is best for your project.

For more than 20 years, Book1One has helped over 20,000 writers and book creators develop books through our manufacturing services. Here, we provide in-depth definitions of offset and digital printing and detail the benefits of each to help you make the wisest decision.


What Is Offset Book Printing?

This type of book printing is conducted through offset lithography. In lithography, a person works images into a grained surface, such as stone or thin metal, using a crayon, pencil, greasy ink, or another synthetic item. This process allows the ink to fasten to the surface while leaving the non-image sections adverse to the ink.

With offset lithography, the image is placed onto a second surface before the final sheet as opposed to being printed directly from the grained surface to the paper. This technique reverses the image twice, enabling it to mirror its appearance as on the grained stone or metal plate.


Why Choose Offset Booking Printing?

Offset printing is a highly efficient and cost-effective means of creating many books. Furthermore, while offset printing can mass-produce books, it doesn’t sacrifice quality. Some situations where you might consider offset book printing include:

  • Developing books in response to a crowd-funding project
  • Generating sufficient inventory for book signings and similar events
  • Selling books at expos and trade shows


What Is Digital Book Printing?

Digital printing is a more technologically advanced solution than offset printing. It involves having the creator send separate digital files of the cover and text to the printer. Instead of using ink to generate images of these files, the printer uses toner. Ink is liquid-based, and toner is powder-based. Toner generally delivers more precise imaging and better printing speeds.

After making adjustments to suit book cover sizing preferences, the printer combines the text and cover, binds them together, and performs necessary trimming.


Why Choose Digital Book Printing?

The digital option can be ideal if you need expedited publishing — the entire process can take less than 10 minutes. It may also be much more affordable than the traditional offset approach. However, digital printing is typically not feasible for mass-producing books. The following are situations where digital printing is most applicable:

  • You only require a short or medium printing run for your book
  • You previously used offset printing for a bigger run, but now need to produce smaller quantities to ensure a consistent stock
  • You wish to print a handful of custom-made books with family or friends
  • You want to see how the formatting looks in person before making a final decision


Which Printing Method Is Best for Your Book?

Whether or not you choose offset or digital printing may depend on where you are in the publishing process and your specific goals for the book. With that said, there are two factors to think about before making a decision:


Creative Freedom

Offset printing can be more advantageous from a quality control standpoint. This technique often delivers the flexibility you need to print a book according to your wishes, whether you want to use a specific type of paper or desire a unique binding.

Some claim that digital printing offers less in the way of creativity. While some digital printers will limit authors to select trim sizes and paper options, this is not always the case. For example, Book1One provides multiple choices for creating a book that stands out. We allow customers to experiment with different binding styles and produce distinctive covers by foil stamping information



Offset printing is only the more affordable alternative if you are printing vast quantities of books. When you are printing more, it costs less per book to use this method. The problem is that offset printing can be limiting — most printers require the author to generate at least 1,000 copies before they can use their services.

Since it is designed for short and medium runs, digital printing is more cost-effective for those creating a smaller selection of books. Additionally, some book manufacturers, like Book1One, don’t place minimum quantity requirements on digital printing. This makes it easier to cater the solution to fit your budget.


Our Digital Book Printing Process

At Book1One, we strive to simplify digital printing for customers by streamlining our process. By following the three easy steps, you can place your order for quality books:


Set Up an Account

To access our book manufacturing services, you must first create an account. If you already have one, simply log in to place your order. This account is not just for making purchases — you can also use it to store your book files for quick access when it’s time to upload.


Follow the Two-File Uploading Process

To submit your book, you will upload the cover and text separately. After you upload each piece, you will be directed to dropdown menus to input customization details. Each part of the uploading process comes with coherent instructions to help you ensure you upload files and explicitly state any specifications before making the order.


Complete a Fast Checkout

At checkout, you can review your order and determine the shipping address. We allow customers to choose multiple addresses if necessary. Your shipping needs will dictate the shipping charge. After you see your total, you can enter your payment information. Once the order is placed, you’ll receive an email with an order number and a projected shipping date.



If you decide that digital printing is the best means for creating your book, turn to Book1One. We are located in Rochester, New York, a city known for its innovative efforts with digital printing. We combine our expertise in print-on-demand (POD) technology and focus on customer satisfaction to make your book printing experience one-of-a-kind. Contact us today to learn more about our services.