The Difference Between Book Printing And Book Publishing

At first glance, book printing and book publishing can seem pretty similar. But there a few important differences for self-published authors to understand.

Printing vs publishing

Book printers print and bind your book, while book publishers are focused on owning the intellectual property of your book itself.

While the publisher retains the rights to a book once it's released, the printer’s job is done as soon as a book is printed.

What is the Role of a Book Printer?

In the case of book printing, the author or publisher who requests the printing job pays the book printer to produce the book. This could be an order for one or many books, depending on the capabilities of the printer.

When the book is printed, the customer receives a printed and bound book to their specifications. The author or publisher then retains full rights to the intellectual property of the book.

What is the Role of a Book Publisher?

Book publishers are interested in owning the rights to the books they publish, and making a profit from sales of the book.

A publisher will either obtain the rights to publish a book from the author, or will already own the rights (as is the case with self-publishing).

A publisher generally accepts all the financial responsibility for the production and promotion of the books they publish in return for the majority of the sales revenue from the book. The author of the book receives a royalty payment based on a percentage of each book sold.

Beyond printing and marketing the book, a publisher may also handle the following aspects of a book's production, including:


  • Hiring a professional editor to refine the original manuscript and get it ready for publishing.
  • They may edit for grammar, plot consistency, length, and writing style.


  • Creating an appropriate layout for the book by choosing certain fonts and formatting.
  • Designing the front and back cover of the book 



  • Getting your book in front of its target audience through social media platforms, author appearances and other marketing and digital marketing strategies.

Distribution and Warehousing

  • Holding an inventory of the book and distributing the books to retail outlets or the customer directly as orders are received.
  • Some publishers may print books on demand to reduce the need to hold an inventory.

The bottom line is, printing is only one aspect of the entire book publishing process. Publishing involves multiple steps to take a raw manuscript and transform it into a book that'll pop off the shelves.

We may be a book printer, but here at Steuben Press we're well-versed in the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about book printing or self-publishing.

Did you know you can make more money on your book as a self-published author? Read on to discover how self-publishing can keep more money in your pocket than traditional publishing >

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.


I set the price, I collect the checks, and Steuben Press does all of the work. It’s a relief to know I never again have to print, package, and ship a book myself. The convenience is outweighed only by their professionalism.

– Andy Phelps, Michigan

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