Often people ask us how many pages will give them the most value for money when it comes to printing documents. With digital printing, the answer is simple – print as many pages as you like, as long as it’s an even number for bound products and a multiple of 4pp (printed pages) for stitched products. With digital, each page of a book is printed individually so this means you can make sure that you only pay for the number of pages you actually want.
With Litho printing it’s a bit more complicated as typically we are working with SRA1 (640x900mm) or B1 (720x1020mm) sheets that are then folded down to make the finished books. For a standard A4 book, we print 16 pages to every sheet of SRA1. This means that the most cost-effective method of printing is to try to work in multiples of 16-page sections. Often customers can find that a 96pp book is more cost effective to produce than a 92pp book for this reason. Similarly, with A5 books, there are 32 printed pages to each sheet of SRA1, which means working in this multiple is the most cost-effective method of production.
A trim size that we find very common is 240x170mm, which prints with 32 pages on a B1 sheet. So, although the cost of paper is slightly higher as it’s a larger sheet than for standard A5, all other machine costs remain the same as if it were an A5 book. As a result, this optimises the number of plates, press time, folding and binding equipment. Again in this scenario, a 156pp book is often more expensive than a 160pp book.
This is why when it comes to making sure your money is being used as wisely as possible, you can sometimes get more pages for less money and why it is important to plan the pagination of the book at the same time as setting the budget for it.
If you have any questions about the information above, specific impositions, or where to place colour through a mono book to optimise the use of plates, please contact your CSR who will be happy to help.