Monthly Archives: July 2013

Offset Printing

Offset Printing

Lithography literally means “writing on stone” and is based on the principle that grease or oil and water do not mix.  It was discovered by Alois Senefelder of Munich, Germany about 1798. A printer term to shorten the Lithography is Offset printing; which is the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate.

Now that you had your history lesson on the word offset, let’s discuss further the advantages of printing with offset/lithography printing.  There are actually two different types of Offset printing, Web offset and SheetFed offset.  Web offset can be used for short, medium and long-runs, but most of the time it is used for printing longer-run printing; like newspapers, catalogs, books, magazines because it is printed off of rolls of paper. Sheetfed printing is also good for short, medium and long-runs projects; like catalogs, books, posters, trading stamps, coupons and etc. In my experience, the difference is Sheetfed printing produces more detail and better quality then web offset.  95% of our children’s books, coffee table books, cook books, and photo books produced through PRC Book Printing are done on a Sheetfed press.

9Both Sheetfed and Web offset printing is an excellent choice for printing in higher quantities, the more copies you produce the cost per copy decreases.  The interiors can be customized by changing the paper color and weight.  Covers can have embellishments such as embossing, foil stamp and die-cutting.  If you are producing hardcover book, coffee table, children books, a photo book which contain a lot of imagery or photos this type of printing offers high image quality then digital printing.

Digital printing, offers cheaper low volume printing.  The unit cost of each piece may be higher than offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs.  With digital print or on demand printing, you can produce 1, 100 or even 500 books; however the unit cost will stay the same. However offset printing, the unit cost will decrease as the quantity increases.  Still at this low quantity your cost will be a savings compare to offset printing.  A plus in printing digitally, you have a quicker turn around and you can get a nice book.  Unlike the offset option, the interior paper is limited.  The cover can be glossy, but you cannot have the trimmings such as embossing, foil stamp or die-cutting for your book project.  The digital printing preference is good for self publisher who need only a few books to send out for marketing tests.

Authors and publishers selection on digital printing or offset lithography printing is a decision based on their production needs, turnaround time, and quality.  PRC Book Printing is here to provide advice and options on your book printing desires. Check out our samples on our offset book printing page!

Call Toll Free: 888.659.8320 or email:

Anatomy of a Customs Exam

Anatomy of a Customs Exam!

When importing a product from overseas, whether its books, toys, clothes or whatever product, you can experience the dreaded customs exam!    Exams are common in today’s security driven world and are becoming common as the US laws progress.

Here are some types of exams that may occur when importing your goods:

  • VACIS exam (Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems) – exams which are done either at the pier or at another locations in the port complex. This is thought as an x-ray exam, where a trained inspector reads a radiographic image without breaking the seal of a container.
  • Tailgate exam – customs or another government agency opens the container and looks in without handling the cargo. If they think anything is suspicious than an intensive exam is required.
  • Intensive exam – this intrusive exam, this is where the container is drayed/carted to a customs exam site and the contents are physically inspected.
  • USDA exam – usually looking for insect infestation or improper wood packaging.  Customs can either do a tailgate of intensive exam depending what they find.
  • CET exam – Enforced by the Contraband Enforcement Team, this exam is conducted by the CET team for suspicion of contraband being in the container.

Importers are getting more used to the frequency of exams, which is still a mystery as to why a particular shipment is chosen for these exam holds. Using PRC Book Printing services, we have established a great track record with Customs.  When printing overseas there are many issues that can arise during importing of goods, where PRC Book Printing will handle all the unfortunates issues and fees if should arise during this process.

(This blog is for informational purposes only. We assume no legal liability for any erroneous information.)

If you’re interested in more information about PRC Book Printing and / or this blog, please

contact us at 888-659-8320, or email

Creating a Press Ready File

Creating a Press Ready File

When creating a Press Ready File, which many new to the industry needs to understand. A Press or Print Ready Files for PRC Book Printing requires to be saved as a Printing Ready PDF (CMYK format not RGB). This is pertinent since our equipment is commercial Sheet Fed/ Web presses. Offset printing color is made up of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) dots, which are placed next to each other in specific patterns that trick the eye into seeing millions of colors. Desktop printers (inkjet or laser) use RGB and some CMYK. On this type of printing the ink is placed directly on the paper over lapping each other.
(See future blog on digital printing and offset printing)

Here are some quick tips for setting up a file for preparation for PRC Book Printing

Book Covers & Dust Jackets:

Please provide original “Source files” and “Print Ready PDF’s” The source file can be creating in Quark format and /or one of the Creative Suite for covers and jackets in case we need to adjust dimensions. Subsequently, we will also need all linked art files and fonts used. PRC Book Printing will also supply you with a cover and dust jacket template if needed.

Book Interior Pages:

  •  “Press-Ready” or “Print-Ready” hi-res PDFs, with bleeds and crop-marks included, is top preference in order to avoid errors in the ripping process.
  • Embed all fonts.
  • Embed all images at 100% size
  • Format your inside pages into one multi-page PDF file.

Color Configuration:

Please do not provide RGB files

  • All Photos and art must be CMYK, at least 300 dpi resolution
  • Black type must be flagged as 100% Black (K). It cannot be a process mix containing any percentage of Cyan, Magenta or Yellow.

All page files must have at least 3mm bleed each side and trim marks.

Media Transfer:

  • CD-ROM or DVD-ROM is acceptable.
  • If FTP transfer is needed, please contact your sales representative to set up a secure folder for you.

For every book printed, the book has to state the origin where the book was printed.

Country of origin: “Printed in China” or “Manufactured in China”

“Product of Origin” Required by US Custom on entry of goods. The most common place “Printed in China” or “Manufactured in China” inside front or is back cover, copyright page, or table of content page. The guide lines are that the country of origin has to be within the first 3 pages of the book or last 3 pages of the book. The country of origin font can’t be smaller than the smallest font on that page.

PRC Book Printing will support you and share our knowledge to make sure you have a successful print ready PDF file. Call us at 888.659.8320 or Email: for more information.


Cover Finishes

Cover Finishes

It’s the Preference of the Artist

When designing the cover for your book, the artist has many choices to grab the attention of the reader!

Do you want the cover to have a screaming title or have the main picture on the page pop from the rest of the print?  This special effect is called Spot varnish/overprint varnish used on a specific area which highlights the image on the page.  You can also add embossing of the image to give a raised effect. For spot varnish the norm is to use a UV Coating.  One of my favorite effects or options for the cover is a Matte lamination with Spot UV. This is great when you want to emphasizes a shinny area while all the other areas are dulled or matte finished.

There are many clear coatings to choose, UV coating, aqueous varnish, matte (dull) varnish and matte lamination, satin or glossy varnish and glossy lamination to finish!

Aqueous coating provides good protection to pieces that may be handled a lot (doesn’t leave finger prints), good finish for a children’s book, cook books or reference books. Aqueous coating is a fast drying water base protective coating, applied right after the ink is laid on the coated paper. The reasoning of why this is more expensive than other coatings is due to the chemicals used damages the roller in the process.

There are two types of laminates film and liquid.  Great coating protection; for the book cover, if you want to prevent finger print smudges or water resistance.  The film or liquid is laid down over the sheet and cures like a varnish.

UV coating is clear liquid spread over the paper like ink then dries instantly with ultraviolet light.  UV’s are mostly used on spot coatings.  Be sure to keep your spot coating away from the scoring of the cover or folds.

Varnish is basically ink without pigment.  It requires its own printing unit, which would be a 5th unit.  You can choose a gloss, dull or satin finish.

Being the designer for a book, there are many options to inspire your creative mind.

Please contact PRC Book Printing to assist you on the many options for the artist’s preference at

Choosing the right paper stock for 4 color printing

Choosing the right paper stock for 4 color printing

When it comes to choosing the right paper stock for your 4 color hard cover book or soft cover book there are many different options.

Let’s start with if your book is going to be 4 color children’s books, coffee table books, cook books, graphic novels, magazines, and etc throughout. Printing a book that has full color throughout you should probably go with a coated stock like Matte or glossy finish. This kind of stock is great for 4 color because the ink will lay very nicely on top of the paper and not seep into the paper.  Since the paper is smooth and not grainy like an uncoated stock the image will be much sharper. When it comes to print 4 color on an uncoated stock the paper is not smooth but porous which the ink will absorbed into the paper not making the image bright and clear. Not saying you can’t print 4 color on an uncoated stock, you can, but it just won’t be as crisp as a coated stock. I’ll give you an example; have you ever printed a photo graph or a picture on a sheet of copy paper? Well, when you do it’s a little dull and faded. If you printed the same photo graph or picture on special photo paper (which is glossy) the picture looks rich and vibrant in color. Do you remember the times when we had to get your file developed from a 35mm camera in order to see what pictures we took (not digital cameras)?  After they developed the roll you would get back 24 pictures on a 4” x 6” glossy or shine stock paper. The pictures looked great and jumped off the paper.

That is the same concept when printing a 4 color hard or soft cover books. You want the paper to have some kind of finished like Matte or Glossy. This will enhance your images and show the full potential of our colors.

If you’re interested in more information about PRC Book Printing and / or this blog, please contact us at 888-659-8320, or email