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Image Quality and Cost Assessment of Print-On-Demand Books from Web-Based Vendors Offering One-Off Printing

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Due to the emergence of e-commerce and developments in print engines designed for economical output of very short runs, there are increased business opportunities and consumer options for print-on-demand books. The current state of this printing mode allows for direct uploading of book files via the web, printing on non-offset printers, and distributing by standard parcel or mail delivery services. The goal of this research is to assess the image quality and relative cost of a soft cover book printed by various web-based vendors offering one-off printing. Six vendors were identified. Sixteen observers rank ordered overall quality of a subset of individual pages from each book. Observers also applied overall quality ratings to the perfect bound books. Objective metrics of color gamut, color accuracy, overall contrast, ICC profiling accuracy, sharpness, noise, and actual cost were obtained. None of the objective metrics was an indication alone of overall quality. For example, printers with smaller color gamut, lower color accuracy or lower contrast were still able to achieve high overall image quality. Photographic quality was highly correlated with overall quality assessments, more so than text quality. Overall image quality had positive correlation to actual cost. One publisher had a cost model that was significantly lower than the other one-off vendors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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