The Digital Printing Advantage: Print Your Book in Color for Cheap

Nothing beats the feeling of holding your self-published book in your hands for the first time.

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But before you can smell the fresh ink, you’ve got a lot of options for printing your book.

During your search for a book printer, you’ll probably come across companies that offer the option to either print your book in black and white, or in color. 

The key word in that sentence? Or.

When you work with these printers, if you choose color, it means you’ll be charged color rates for pages that have nothing but text printed. Or worse yet, you might even be charged for pages in your book that are blank!

And if your book is 200 pages long, the cost to print in color can be pretty steep. That means less money for marketing your book, or embarking on that dream book tour you’ve been planning.

At Steuben Press, we offer printing solutions that fit our clients’ budgets. So you can bring color to your book without breaking the bank.


To understand how color printing interacts with your book, here’s a quick overview of how a digital printing press handles color. 

You may heard the acronym CMYK before. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K means black here). 

The spectrum of color that’s achieved by adding and subtracting these four elemental colors is what’s available to you in full color printing. 

A digital press is loaded with toner cartridges holding these four colors. When a color image is sent to the press, it mixes the toners based on the values embedded in the print file.

And through digital printing, this age-old battle of black and white vs. color can finally be laid to rest.

The Digital Printing Press Advantage 

A digital printing press has the ability to recognize if a page in your book file has any color elements on it or not, and choose which toners are needed to replicate it. 

So if the next page on has black text on it, it will choose to use only black toner.

This digital intelligence is what allows us to save our clients a lot of cash when adding color to their book.

Any shop running a digital printing press pays more money for their color toner and ink than they do for their black toner and ink. This drives up the cost of printing.

When printing something like a flyer, choosing between black and white or color isn’t as relevant. You either want 100 black and white flyers or 100 color flyers. Only one page is being printed. and it’s either black and white or color. 

But when printing a book, the story is different (get it?). A book can be hundreds of pages long, and each page may be different. Some will be black and white, and some might be color. 

A properly equipped book printer will allow their clients to mix the color content of their pages and price accordingly. 

If your book printer is telling you to pick between a book printed in black and white OR a book printed in color, we’d recommend looking for a new book printer.

Cost Savings and Printing Color

Our digital printing process at Steuben Press offers you the flexibility to have color printed in your book without having to spend your whole marketing budget.

Let’s take an example of a 200 page perfect bound book, sized 5.5” x 8.5”, printed on 60lb white paper and with a gloss laminated cover. 

Say you’re planning to order 250 copies of this title. If you were to print this book in only black and white, your cost would be $3.90 each.

If you were to print this book completely in color, your cost would be $13.54 each. That’s a big difference. 

Now if you’re printing an art book with a myriad of beautiful, full-page illustrations, the $13.54 price makes more sense because you’re going to be charging a high retail price on the book when you’re selling it to buyers. 

But if the book is a simple memoir and you just have a handful of color photographs that you want to include, the $13.54 price could price you out of the market of buyers you’re hoping to reach.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re printing a memoir. It has 25 photographs that you’d like to have printed in color to add dimensionality and value to your book. 

At Steuben Press, we’ll offer you pricing that only charges you color printing rates for the 25 pages of color, rather than treating the entire book like it’s in color. 

So if you were to print this book with 175 black and white pages and 25 color pages, your cost would be $5.11.

We understand that self-published authors have to work within strict budgeting parameters. 

We also understand the value and beauty that color can bring to your book, and want to give you the ability to breathe life into the pages that need it most. Get a quick and easy quote on your next book project today >

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.

Heidi cover

I was referred by a friend to Steuben Press for my self-published book. Adam was extremely helpful in suiting my needs towards a beautiful end product! I have sold over 200 copies in the last 3 months of it being printed! Jamie did a wonderful job with the layout of hte book and helping me with some edits. Excellent communication with the customer as well. Highly recommend Steuben Press for your high-quality printing needs!

– Heidi Geiger, Chicago

You can find Heidi on the web at