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There are many opportunities for authors wanting to print their book in Australia. Additionally, it can be a great idea for Australian self-published authors who want to support Australian book services.

1. Are there book printers in Australia?

Yes, there are printers all across Australia that offer book printing services, though they may be more concentrated in the capitals, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane. You’ll be able to find Australian-based book printing companies that offer a range of printing solutions for your book, including offset printing, digital printing, short run printing, and more.

Some book printers also print other products, like posters etc. but others are dedicated to the production of books specifically. It’s especially important to remember that not all printers can print books. There is a lot that goes into the production of a professionally bound and finished book and it requires specialty knowledge and equipment that not every standard printer has.

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2. What kinds of books can I print in Australia?

There is no real limit to the kind of book you can print in Australia. Throughout the country, there are numerous book printers that offer a range of different printing solutions, so whatever the genre of your book you should be able to find a printing solution on Australian soil.

Things to consider about certain types of books, however, is that it may be difficult or expensive to print a book that requires a specialty finish or paper. For instance, children’s board books can be very expensive because the material is high quality and cost. Additionally, books that are too small to be perfect bound may have to be saddle stitched instead. It’s best to check your parameters with the printer and listen to their feedback.

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3. Is the print quality of books printed in Australia good?

The quality of the books printed in Australia of course varies depending on which printing company you approach. The quality of the printed book can depend on a few different factors:

  • Type of machine: There are many types of printing machines that yield books of differing quality. Some main types of printing presses include:
    • Digital/Inkjet printers: These printers will be used for short to medium sized print runs. They can produce books with a quick turnaround and can be black and white or full colour. Digital printers are becoming much better in terms of quality, but are still sometimes considered not as good as offset.
    • Offset printers: These printers are more suited for bulk print runs as they are expensive to set up, run, and maintain. In terms of quality, they are considered to produce a higher quality book than digital.
  • Paper used: Some papers (generally the cheaper ones) are of a lower quality and will not look as nice as papers that are a better quality. Groundwood or book crème are usually considered the lower quality papers, however, this doesn’t mean that they’re not to be used. Groundwood or book crème are used in standard trade novels and you likely own many books printed on this paper. That being said, these papers of course won’t look as nice as higher-end papers like premium crème and premium white.
  • The design files: If you find an issue with the printed design, it might be that the design files haven’t been prepared properly to fit with the printer it was sent to. Usually, the printing company will flag any issues, however it is always best to check yourself or get a proof copy printed.
Groundwood, cream, and white paper comparison

Different book paper types

CMYK Offset printer

Offset Printing Press

3.1 Other factors to consider

There are also a couple of factors that are out of the printers’ control when it comes to how the final product will be when it gets to you. Major factors that can negatively impact your books are their environment and how they’re stored/transported. To maintain their print-perfect state, it’s important to have your books stored in particular conditions or they can easily warp or otherwise lose their structural integrity. These conditions include:

  • Keep them dry: Mould and insects love the damp, and both of those can wreak havoc on your books. Books that are not stored in a dry and regulated environment off the ground and away from walls can be affected and arrived to you damaged.
  • Reduce humidity: In the same vein as above, books prefer to be in environments that have little humidity in the air. Books that are exposed to too much humidity can become warped and discoloured at no fault of the printers.
  • Correctly: Smaller books can be stacked either lying flat or standing up (on their top or bottom, never on the spine or adjacent side), but large heavy books must be stored lying flat. This is to protect their binding and to make sure that they don’t eventually come apart.

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4. Is it expensive to print books in Australia?

With any manufacturing endeavour, the costs are dependant on a few factors, including the:

  • book format and size;
  • type and number of print finishes;
  • size of print run;
  • printing company; and
  • specific printing process (offset, POD, etc.).

As a general rule, however, when printing books in bulk we usually recommend printing overseas. By “bulk” we mean print runs that go into the thousands. Printing this kind of volume in Australia is simply too expensive in comparison to countries like Singapore, China, and Korea. (However, something to keep in mind with overseas printing is that, while the price of the printing itself may be lower, the shipping fees can get quite pricey.) For smaller print runs of a single copy to a couple hundred on the other hand, printing in Australia is definitely viable and can be beneficial in terms of lowering your shipping costs for this smaller volume in comparison to printing the same print run overseas.

To keep costs low for yourself, it’s always best to do your research on printing companies and get comparative quotes. Green Hill has connections with printers both throughout Australia and overseas, so we can broker comparative and competitive print quotes for interested authors.

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The Little Book of Big Publishing tips goes into the essentials of self-publishing a book, outlining the business and financial side of publishing, legal issues, design, editing, sales and marketing. There's even a section on how to identify a vanity-publishing scam.