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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Book Printing: Adding Color Swatch Replacement Pages

A print brokering client of mine is producing a fashion color swatch book to help clients choose colors most complimentary to their complexion. I’ve written about her project numerous times in these blog articles.

At the moment, the proofs are out for her review.

However, my client wants to do two supplemental projects (related to the print book) that will benefit from the digital printing nature of this project.

The First Project: Replacement Pages

My client’s clients will be purchasing color swatch books tied to the seasons: for example, one of the PDF’s I have is entitled “Warm Autumn.” Each of these small, fan-out color books (which are very similar to PMS swatch books used in the commercial printing trade) includes 60 color swatches plus introductory material and covers. The back of each card explains fashion uses for the color on the front.

Some of these print books may not be complete for a particular person (lacking certain individual colors), or in some cases other colors might be more relevant. Therefore, my client has requested three sets of an additional 300 color swatches.

In some cases the colors will be redundant. There may be multiple copies of a particular color. For those who buy multiple copies of a particular color swatch book, this will be useful. For example, a shop owner may order twenty books, and she may want to augment the colors or replace some of them with selected swatches from this extra press run my client is preparing.

As complex as this may sound, what it really means is that a client (of my client’s) can buy numerous books and then personalize them. And since all of these print books are bound with a metal screw and post assembly, they can be taken apart, reordered, added to, and then put back together. This is one of the prime benefits of screw and post binding. The user can disassemble and reassemble the product much as one would disassemble and reassemble a three-ring binder and its contents.

Now the specs for these additional pages will be important. In fact, I’m only having one commercial printing vendor bid on this job: the same one producing the main books. This is to ensure complete compatibility of the replacement pages with the interior pages of the 22 master color swatch books being printed on the HP Indigo press.

The important details will be the size (3 35/64” x 1 27/64”), the paper (10pt white gloss cover stock), the lamination (1.2 mil clear), the rounded corners, and the placement and size of the drill hole. The replacement pages have to match the initial pages in appearance and feel (although the colors will not be the same).

Presumably the rounded corners will add to the price. After all, this is an additional process (albeit necessary; otherwise, the pointed edges of the cards would not match the rounded edges of the print book pages). However, since the dies will have already been made to round-corner the pages of the initial 22 master books (and all their copies), my client will have already paid the cost of creating the die. She will just use the original cutting die for the replacement pages.

In setting up the files, my client will create a press-ready PDF from an InDesign file. The InDesign file will contain 300 pages of colors (actually 300 leaves, or 600 pages, since there will be black text on the back of the pages). The book printer will then impose these (set these up as needed for the 13” x 19” Indigo press sheet), then print a total of 900 swatches (300 originals x 3 copies), then laminate, drill, cut, and round corner the swatches, and then pack them in a box for delivery.

Producing Personalized Covers

In addition to the replacement pages, my client plans to offer her clients a cover personalization option. At first she had mentioned putting the names of her clients (or their stores) on the covers, but she then opened this up to include logos and even replacement images for the model glamor shots currently on the covers of the 22 master color swatch books.

Digital printing is ideal for this product, since ostensibly each of the 50 or 100 pages my client will request for her client’s print books will be totally different.

I have asked my client to supply an InDesign file (saved as a press-ready PDF) containing either 50 or 100 pages. In this case she can alter all pages as necessary, swapping out cover images, adding logos, adding the names of her clients, and such, to make each of the 50 or 100 pages unique. The book printer can then lay these out as needed for the HP Indigo press sheet and produce one copy of this file.

This print job will be comparatively expensive, even digitally, but once the single copy has been laminated, drilled, trimmed, and round cornered (again, using the die pre-made for my client’s initial 22 master color swatch books), she will have 50 or 100 personalized covers for her clients. If they pay for this enhancement to their color books, my client can even make a profit. Once they have received the new covers, her clients can disassemble the screw and post binding, swap out the covers, and reassemble the books.

In addition, keep in mind that these pages will be printed on 18pt white gloss coated cover stock (unlike the 10pt cover stock of the replacement pages) since these will all be book covers. They will also need the same lamination, drilling, and round cornering as the initial color swatch book run so they will fit and look appropriate. But by doing this, my client, the fashionista, can offer a very unique and personal book to her clients.

What You Can Learn from This Case Study

Here are some thoughts:

    1. Offset printing is all about making multiple copies from one master file. In contrast, digital printing will allow you to personalize each page. Presumably each product you print can be completely different. This may cost you extra. It’s not cheap. However, it would be astronomically expensive if you tried to do this with traditional offset printing.


    1. If you do something like my client is doing, think it through. It would be easy to forget the round cornering, for instance. In that case, all the edges of all the replacement pages would stick out. If necessary, make a mock-up. It can’t hurt, and it may help you remember something important.


  1. These are the kinds of smaller, ancillary jobs that are best done by the printer producing the main job in order to ensure consistency.

2 Responses to “Book Printing: Adding Color Swatch Replacement Pages”

  1. Printing services would be the one which can be set up for different digital printing services and products, which is very fast to respond and produces high quality of printing. Thank you for sharing this post.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I agree. In fact, I think those printers that approach their clients as partners (providing advice and helping them grow and prosper) will be the printers that thrive in the future, far more than the printers that only offer printing services.


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