Book Printers vs Book Publishers

Book Printers vs Book Publishers

Every industry has its jargon. In our line of business, the terms ‘book printers’ and ‘book publishers’ are often confused for one another and these terms are frequently (albeit wrongly) used in an interchangeable fashion. To be honest, we don’t really find that strange – from the outside looking in it can seem like we all do the same thing, namely bring good-quality books to market for the South African reading public. However, there is actually quite a big difference in the purpose and job description of a printer and a publisher.

Here’s a quick rundown on what we do as printers, and where we hand over responsibility to the publishers:

What Book Printers Do

Book printers specialise in the actual printing and binding of books. In our case, this includes everything from saddle stitching, ring binding and PUR binding, to assembling case-wrapped hardcover books, paperbacks, diaries, magazines, journals and more. We also do financial reports, brochures, catalogues and academic publications like text books.

We don’t buy the rights to publish manuscripts ourselves or do any of the marketing or editorial work required to promote a given publication to its target demographic. In short – we make a publication look good, so the publishers can do their job.

What Book Publishers Do

Book publishers are individuals and companies that actively seek out manuscripts to publish, and then guide those manuscripts through the whole editing and design process. These print-ready documents are then handed over the book printers, who create the finished product. Once this process is done, the publishers take over again to market the publication through bookstores, wholesalers and online marketplaces. In doing so, they essentially act as venture capitalists for the authors of new books.

So, why publishers don’t simply print their own books? The simple answer is that it takes two completely different skill sets. Printers have to focus on printing technology and adapting to the needs of book consumers. Publishers have to focus on acquiring and marketing new content. These two fields are vastly different, and trying to straddle the two seldom works.

Keep your eye on the blog in coming weeks and months for more insider tips and advice on book printing. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with the Book Printing team if you have any questions regarding our comprehensive portfolio of book-printing services – we’re standing by to assist you in any way possible.

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