Sep 1, 2023 • 3 min read

Photo-Quality Books vs Reading Books: Which Is Best for Me?

Find the right print method for your files with this simple guide.

Photo-Quality Books vs Reading Books: Which Is Best for Me?

There are two Paperback and Hardcover Book printing options at Mixam: Professional Photo-Quality Books and Reading Books. Paperback and Hardcover refer to how we bind your publications, while the book type determines how we’ll print your content. So whether you’re a photographer looking for an alternative way to display and distribute your images or a self-publisher needing book printing services for your next story, we’re here to clarify which print method to choose so you can get the best results. 


Let’s start with Photo-Quality Books…


Professional Photo-Quality Books are for detailed, image-heavy content like photographs and graphics that require rich, vibrant colours. We’ll produce your books on a digital or litho press to give you the most high-quality and affordable prints. Items suitable for this kind of printing include Art BooksComic Books and Cookbooks

The benefits of Photo-Quality Books include:

  • Perfect for vivid, high-resolution prints
  • A choice of print specifications available
  • Hugely adaptable and accessible for a variety of personal and commercial projects.

However, there are some drawbacks of Photo-Quality Books, including:

  • The printing is less cost-effective due to material and setup costs, but we offer competitive pricing!
  • Photo-Quality Books with Hardcover binding can increase shipping costs as they will weigh more.
  • Turnaround times may be slightly longer, especially if you have print work with a lot of ink coverage. Work can also take longer to dry if you include special print options.


Now, let’s move on to Reading Books…


Reading Books are for text-based publications containing few or no graphics. We use inkjet litho printing, which produces high-quality prints at a low cost with short setup and turnaround times. Paperback Books and Novels are particularly suitable items for this kind of printing.

The benefits of Reading Books include:

  • Cost-efficient due to their low material and setup costs.
  • Lightweight when bound as a Paperback, and includes a choice of off-white paper stocks for easy readability. 
  • Suitable for some graphic work like greyscale illustrations and simple line drawings.


The drawbacks of Reading Books include:

  • Unsuitable for colourful, image-heavy work as it doesn’t offer high colour fidelity.
  • It’s also problematic for work with high ink coverage, risking ink transfer.
  • There is a finite choice of print options.


This guide should prompt you to analyse your files in greater detail and help you choose the appropriate print option. While Reading Books have fewer printing options, they are highly cost-efficient. And even though turnaround times may take longer for Professional Photo-Quality Books, they offer many creative opportunities for all kinds of content. You can select Professional Photo-Quality Books and Reading Book printing for Hardcover and Paperback Books with our print-on-demand service PrintLink. To launch your PrintLink, log in to your account and see if your previous orders are eligible. Alternatively, you can get your quote for your publications here. Or you can print Hardcover and Paperback Books in bulk. For more news and inspiration, check out the array of posts on Mixam's Blog and visit our Support section for helpful guidance and advice on all things print.


Image Credit: Unsplash

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