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I'm working with an author who is self-publishing a book, approx. 120 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, with color illustrations throughout. He wants around 200 paperback copies, which is fine - any number of good digital printing outfits can do these. However, he also wants to produce about a dozen deluxe copies with sewn bindings in hard covers.
As I see it the most plausible option for digital printing is to produce a second layout with the pages in an imposition order, then output the spreads on 11 x 17 sheets that can be folded. Getting them bound separately is no problem if we could get signatures as F&Gs. However, the digital book printers I've checked so far will only output pages, not larger sheets that can be folded for a sewn binding, whereas copy shops that do 11 x 17 sheets won't do a well-produced bound paperback book.
Does it make sense to do the two runs at separate shops? Or does anyone know a good digital book printer that will also do the larger sheets? Or would it make sense, given the requirements, to print the whole thing offset, despite the short run?