How to Get a Book Printed

Get a book printed in record time, even if you've never done so before. Today's printing technology offers a variety of ways to do so. Once you decide whether your book should be a hardcover or a paperback, you can decide which print option works for your needs and your budget.

Prepare Manuscript to be Printed

Check Spelling. Use both your computer's spell-check function and your own reading skills to review your manuscript. Have someone else check the spelling also.

Proofread for grammar and other errors. Again, it is advisable to have someone else error-check your manuscript for you, in addition to doing it yourself. Writers tend to see what they meant to type, even if they didn't type it quite that way.

Save your book as a document file and PDF (portable document format). Many word-processing programs today offer the PDF option. If you are not able to save your manuscript in this way, use one of the free websites that do so.

Self Print Option Resource List

It's quite easy to get a book printed if you do the printing yourself. Preparing the book for printing involves more than just writing the book, however. If your book is a simple report or pamphlet-style creation, you can often take it to a printing shop or copy business and run off copies of it on a digital printer. Again, you'll need your manuscript in a clean, ready-to-print layout. This means the pages should look exactly as you'll want them to look when printed.

One of the more difficult parts of printing the book yourself is designing the cover. Unless you have experience with graphic design or software that makes it possible to create book covers, you'll probably want to find a professional to do this. Local colleges are often good places to find affordable designers.

If you wish to see your book listed in the Library of Congress and be available for sale at bookstores, you'll need to get an ISBN and a Library of Congress catalog number. The paperwork for both steps is available online.There is a cost to purchasing a block of ISBN numbers. If you are considering printing your book in other formats (audio on CD, hardcover and soft cover), you will need a separate ISBN number for each type of book. If this option is important, consider using a self-print publishing company.

Self-Print Contract Publishing

Several online companies offer self-print options. The cost of printing your book depends entirely upon which options you include. If you decide to use this method to get a book printed, choose the company that best fits your needs and the money you have to invest. Some companies make your book available everywhere. Other companies make your book available only to specific stores.

There is an almost dazzling array of package options out there. Simple packages cover nothing but the printing, while more advanced options include cover design, editing of the manuscript, ISBN number, barcode, Library of Congress catalog number and more. Choose a package that offers the most options for the least amount of money.

Choose a self-print publisher that does not take away your rights to the manuscript. Rights are the essence of the book contract. The rights to the book should remain yours. If you later decide to get the book printed at another publisher, there should be no problem.

A good contract-termination clause allows you to end the agreement at any time without penalizing you for doing so.

The more the book costs to print, the higher you'll have to raise the selling price. If the selling price is pushed too high, the book won't sell, and you won't see income.

Pick a company that allows you to set the retail price of your book. One standard method of setting retail price is to multiply the cost of printing 2-1/2 times. Example: It costs $4 to get a book printed. Multiply 4 x 2-1/2 and you get 10. The retail price of the book that costs $4 to print would be set at $10.

The royalty or author-payment section of the print contract reveals the amount you will receive when a book sells. The amount should be shown clearly, in dollars and cents. Use a company that clearly reveals this figure.

Choose a company that offers good customer service. Does someone actually answer the telephone? Do they know what they are talking about? Will you be able to speak with the people who will be working on your book?

Choose a Printing Method

Simple reports, pamphlets and small books can often be printed locally. Many local printers can also provide simple binding services, including spiral, comb-bind and hard binding.

Books requiring simple black-and-white printing can be created via both on-line self publishing methods and traditional methods. This type of book is often a good choice to print via self-publishing (free or paid) companies. Decide if you wish to publish your book as a soft cover (paperback) or in hardcover format. Hard cover costs more to print and sells at a higher price.

Photo-laden books or books filled with color graphics tend to turn out best when professionally printed. Self-publishing contracts to print this type of book are often more involved than simple black-and-white jobs.

Submit Your Book for Printing

Follow the printer's guidelines and submit your book to your chosen printer. If you have purchased a self-publishing package plan, review what the plan offers and the suggested timeline.

Review any marketing offered via the printing contract. Prepare now to market and sell your book once it is printed. Marketing materials such as a website can be prepared while you are waiting.

Some printers send you a copy of your book to proof before it is actually printed. If this is required, be sure to complete the task and return the approved proof. This will keep the printing of your book on schedule.

Once you get your book printed, it's time to let the world know. You might even consider repeating the process and getting another book printed.


Be alert for hidden charges and fees.


See what others have to say about any publishing company you consider.


Read the fine print to see where your book will be available once it is published.

Do not accept percentages for author payments.

Don't expect the printing company to market your book.

Don't give up your rights to the printing company.

Things You'll Need

  • Ready-to-print manuscript
  • Self-print option resource list
  • Commercial-print option resource list