I’m not just talking through my hat here. I was speaking this morning with the production manager of a well-respected Utah printer. Their shop, like many others, was exclusively offset, but they have begun adding digital. They are in the learning phase as is most of the industry. The question I ask was regarding durabililty. Since many digital presses use toners instead of inks I wondered how well the images would stand up under the kind of wear and tear that a children’s book might experience. Off the top of his head he thought it compares favorably, but he didn’t know for sure. Since the toners are exposed to a high heat, he felt that this would fuse the toners into the sheet.
I have to say that digital printing has come a long way in the last few years, and it has a long way to go yet. The biggest problem with digital is quantity. It is excellent for short runs, say less than 500, but not so good at higher amounts. Somebody, somewhere will solve this problem and offset printing will go the way of the buggy whip.