Should I Print My Book in Colour or Black and White?
It’s a Saturday night showdown: Colour vs. Black and White. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “should I print my book in colour, or in black and white?” – buddy, we don’t know! But we can certainly offer some advice. Are you up for a fight?
Take a ringside seat. Top of the bill on today’s schedule of procrastination is a renewal of the age-old battle: black and white versus colour. Now, before we let them loose in the ring, maybe there is no need for a scrap; maybe a split decision is not necessary; maybe the winner is obvious.
There are a number of factors that would contribute to the decision. If your book is plain text, then the decision is simple: black and white, all the way. But if your book features images, you have a decision to make.
Black and white printing is less expensive than colour; our online calculator can demonstrate the cost difference for you. But sometimes the look of the book is more important than saving a few pounds. If your book relies on images or colourful illustrations, or if you’ve written a children’s book, they often look much better in colour.
It is worth remembering that there is a third option: colour inserts. If your book contains a small number of images or annotations that you would like to be printed in colour, then black or white printing with colour inserts will most likely be the best choice. Think back to a footballer’s autobiography – in the middle of the book there’s a photo section. This gives you the benefits of cheaper black and white printing, whilst keeping colour where it is needed.
Talkin’ Prizefighter Money...
Take a step back, examine your objective and the print winner could suggest itself. Remember, we are talking book printing here; not holiday brochures or Kit-Kat wrappers, just books. A major consideration must be cost.
The object of the exercise is not to write a book, nor to print a book. It is not even to sell a book. It is to sell a book and make the maximum amount of profit possible. With a standard novel, the case is pretty clear: black and white; standard paper; reasonable quality; with an eye-catching cover. But is that sufficient and what your really want?
Textbooks, manuals, self-help guides, and alike is where you may find yourself up against the ropes. Diagrams, chapter headings, photographs, and drawings are often in colour, and the number of these things you have on your pages will affect the price. With digital printing, you can choose the number of colour inserts you need to help lighten to cost. Just bear in mind that a full colour book can cost up to three times the price of a black and white one.
Moving on to prestige publications: for want of a better term, we call these ‘coffee table’ books. A knee-jerk reaction is big, bold, beautiful, and, of course, full colour. However, this is not always true. We have a number of these books printed through us in simply black and white – especially if they are photo books. Monochrome can be considered very stylish, professional and makes art pop. So consider your choice carefully. Start at the end and work backwards.
Tale of the Tape
You think you know how much your book could retail for, but you will be lucky to receive 50% of the price if you sold it through the trade, including Amazon.
A black and white book at £11.99, costing £2.50 to print, gives you a profit of about £3.50.
The same book in colour, costing you £7.00, could retail at £19.99, giving you a profit of £3.00; selling at £24.99, gives you £5.50 profit. You are able to justify a higher price if you print in colour, but as always, it’s a buyer’s market, so be reasonable.
The above quotes were produced from our online quote calculator - which is worth you having a test with to comapre the differences with your print project.
Advice for the Undecided
Some books just need to be in colour – some books should be black and white. We would always recommend you ask your printer for a proof copy of both; you may glean things you hadn’t considered.
After that, you have to go with your gut. If, for any reason, your printer won’t provide you with an alternate proof, we most certainly will (for a little fee). We can print in full colour, black and white, or black and white with colour inserts. But the decision is ultimately yours. No one has all the answers but if you only see things in black and white, what is the point of a rainbow?