In-Line or Off-line?


Well, maybe not a “great” debate but it’s certainly worthy of discussion.  Yes, there are indeed occasions where in-line does make sense but a rock-solid case can be made for the majority of digital print installs where it absolutely can be shown that, long term, off-line booklet production is a much better option.  A little bit of math will prove this to be true.  Shown below is a pro and con breakdown for each method.



  • Labor savings.
  • Integrity.


  • Lower quality, less robust equipment.
  • Narrower spec range such as booklet thickness.  No latitude to do custom sizes.
  • Often does not provide the occasionally needed head and foot trims.  Usually face trim only.
  • Booklet maker can on occasion slow down the print engine.  Speeds can be out of sync.
  • 8.5”x5.5” booklets?  Not uncommon.  That means printing on an 8.5”x11” sheet rather than two-up on a 12”x18” which almost always means two click charges versus just one.  Your cost just doubled.
  • When your engine is broke, so is your booklet maker.  One down, both down.
  • More often than not, the booklet maker is being tossed every five years along with the engine.   That’s a waste of money.
  • Often times are charged a ridiculous contract fee for maintenance.    You’re either being fleeced on that matter or it’s proof of a weak product.  Or both.



  • Higher quality, more robust equipment.   Generally better quality output.
  • Wider spec range.  Both Horizon and even Morgana solutions can produce up to a 200 page booklet as well as odd, unique or custom sizes.  Full range of specs!
  • Three-side trimming can be accomplished on most every system!
  • No speed conflicts between a connected printer and booklet maker.  This allows max production speeds on both units.
  • No issues when running different or smaller size booklets in regards to print clicks.
  • Built better and intended for a longer life!  No reason to not expect  15+ years out of a Horizon solution which equals the life of at least three print engines.  Considering this solution can sometimes support the output of two print engines, the case can be made that it could possibly equal the life of up to six print engines!  In other words…..quit throwing out your booklet maker every five years!  It’s a waste of money!
  • Far more flexibility!  Insert envelopes?  Run offset work as well as digital?  Two-up work with four stitch heads?  Loop stitching?   Insert loose sheets?  Covers with gates/wings?  All things that can potentially be done on an off-line system but NOT on an in-line system.
  • Quit paying ridiculous monthly maintenance fees.  There are no required contracts for off-line solutions!


  • A complete second step which equals more labor.
  • Initial cost outlay is going to be greater.

Standard Horizon and Morgana are two sources for off-line booklet-making solutions.

Contact us for further info and input on the matter!  We look forward to the debate!