The art of custom book production: Lithographic vs. Digital printing

In the realm of luxury print design, where every detail is meticulously curated, coffee table books are more than just reading material; they are works of art. We create coffee table books for luxury brands across the globe, and when it comes to printing these bespoke masterpieces, the choice of printing method is considered based on a variety of factors. In this insight, we’ll delve into the benefits of lithographic versus digital printing for luxury coffee table books whilst exploring the advancements in digital printing technology that are narrowing the quality gap between litho and digital.

A 200 page custom book printed lithographically

The benefits of printing custom books lithographically

1. Timeless precision

In the world of luxury books, lithography stands as a testament to the timeless elegance and dedication to excellence, making each copy a collector’s treasure. Lithographic printing, also known as offset printing, has long been the gold standard for luxury coffee table books. Here’s why:

2. Unparalleled quality

Lithographic printing, also known as offset printing, is the epitome of craftsmanship in producing luxury coffee table books. This intricate process combines precision and artistry to create visually stunning, high-quality publications. Luxury books benefit from lithography’s ability to reproduce intricate details, vibrant colors, and rich textures with unparalleled accuracy.

3. Versatility in materials

Lithography can accommodate the widest range of premium paper stocks, allowing for customisation in texture, weight, and finish. This flexibility in materials enhances the tactile and visual experience of luxury books, enabling custom book designers to choose the perfect substrate to complement the book’s content and design.

4. Consistency over large print runs

Lithographic printing is ideal for larger quantities of luxury books. It maintains colour consistency and image quality throughout extensive print runs, ensuring that every book in the edition maintains the same high level of quality. This reliability is crucial when producing multiple copies of limited-edition or collector’s items, where uniformity is paramount.

Moreover, lithography accommodates a wide range of paper sizes and finishes, allowing for customisation that befits luxury publications. Its versatility, speed, and cost-effectiveness make lithographic printing the preferred choice for luxury books and brochures when quantity and uncompromising quality converge to create exceptional, collectible editions.

The benefits of printing custom books digitally

Digital printing offers several benefits when printing luxury books, catering to niche markets and personalised publishing. Here are four advantages:

1. When time is of the essence

Digital printing offers quicker turnaround times than lithographic printing, which can be critical for time-sensitive projects. This agility allows book designers to respond swiftly to changing market demands, ensuring their clients stay ahead of the curve.

2. High quality output

While lithographic printing has long been the hallmark of quality, digital printing has made remarkable strides in recent years. Modern digital printing technologies offer impressive print quality, with sharp text, vibrant colours, and fine details. While not always equal to the level of detail achieved with lithographic printing, digital printing is more than sufficient for many luxury book projects, particularly those with shorter print runs or frequent design revisions.

3. Cost-effective for short runs

Luxury books often have smaller print runs due to their exclusivity. Digital printing eliminates the need for costly setup processes associated with lithographic printing, making it cost-effective and efficient for luxury brands looking to create exclusive coffee table books.

4. Personalisation is key

Personalisation is paramount in luxury design. Digital printing allows for individualised and variable content in luxury books. Each copy can be customised with unique text, images, or even cover designs, making it ideal for limited-edition or bespoke publications tailored to specific audiences or collectors.

LED UV printing – a shining star

One noteworthy advancement in digital printing is LED UV printing. This technology offers several distinct advantages:

By curing ink instantly with UV light, it prevents ink absorption, allowing colours to remain more vibrant and images to appear sharper. As the ink drys on top of the paper, rather than absorbing into it, as well as causing images to appear brighter this can also cause more of a sheen than you might expect, particularly in heavy print areas. If printing on uncoated paper (a popular choice for luxury brands), then its details like this that are hugely important, especially if an uncoated paper has been chosen for its more fibrous, textured properties.

LED UV printing is eco-friendly, as it emits minimal heat and consumes less energy than traditional printing methods. It also uses fewer chemicals, reducing its environmental footprint. With less energy consumption, shorter drying times, and less waste, it’s a sustainable choice for companies and brands looking to reduce their carbon footprint while maintaining superior print quality.


In conclusion, the choice between lithographic and digital printing for crafting bespoke coffee table books for luxury brands is no longer a clear-cut decision. Advancements in digital printing technology, such as improved colour accuracy and the emergence of LED UV printing, are narrowing the quality gap. Ultimately, the choice should align with the project’s specific requirements and the brand’s vision. By leveraging the strengths of both lithographic and digital printing, luxury design agencies can continue to create exquisite coffee table books that captivate and resonate with their discerning clientele.

If you require a custom coffee table book for your own luxury brand we would love to help. Please complete the enquiry form at the bottom of this page or click here to find out more about our end-to-end custom book making services from content creation, design and print through to fulfilment.