Every new author is aware of the difficulties of getting their book printed. The top printing companies in the world don't even look at budding authors if they are not exceptionally good. As a result most new authors are forced to get book printing done from elsewhere. And then they hope that their book will do well enough for the top publishers to take notice. But there is investment involved in this and it can be significant. There is a way out though. A short run book printer can help in this matter.
There is an inherent risk in self book printing. You don't know how many copies of your book you should get printed. If you print too many but they don't sell it's massive loss of money for you. On the other hand if you print too few and the book starts selling like hot cakes then there is a shortage issue as well. But the second situation is much better because these days books can be printed very fast. And a brief shortage in the market will make people want your book all that much. When it hits the stands again the sales figures are bound to pick up once again.
You face problems when there is more supply than demand and this is where a short run book printer is so useful. The standard method of book printing is offset printing. This is a more cost effective method but here you need to print a large number of books. Short run printing is a process where you can get a smaller number of books printed. The cost of printing will be tad higher but then you will be able to gauge the response for your book and then consider the next course of action.
A short run book printer will use digital printing technology to print your book. The benefit of this form of printing is that there is no need to create those offset plates. Once you upload your book in PDF or some other approved format it can be digitally converted into a book. All the options of book printing are applicable to this form of printing - hard cover, colour printing and black and white printing and so on. You can even ask your short run book printer to create the artwork for your book.
There is a cost attached with what you intend to do and hence the recommendation is that you compare various short run book printing companies. Some of the book printers are able to give you an instant quote for your printing job. Once you have a few such quotes it is easier for you to make a decision. But yes, you shouldn't just consider the cheapest short run book printer. There is the matter of quality to be kept in mind. Hence, you must strike a balance between quality and price. This is the best way to get your book printed in limited copies and then take the next decision.