Since working in the publishing business, I receive inquiries about printing and printers frequently. (Not all publishing houses print their own books.) What is my usual answer?
You have to select a printer based on your printing needs. Do you need 5,000 books for cheap ASAP but are located in Jamaica? Well, I can easily assume that printing in Malaysia may not be for you as the shipping time alone will kill your dreams of fast receipt of your materials. What are the dimensions of your book? Ooooh. The printer next door can't print that large. Always focus on your needs first then select a few printers and let them bid for your wor if their pricing is a little flexible. Remember that you are the one employing them to work for you.
Because my portfolio at work doesn't require me to be an expert in printing, I've had to learn how to search for my printers based on need first and then price. After starting work in the publishing business last year, I needed a crash course in printing. I also did quite a bit of freelance work straight out of college and so I purchased this designer's print-life-saving book: The All New Print Production Handbook. I also joined the Print Professionals group on LinkedIn. They often have useful discussions that teach me slowly but surely about the printing business.
Join me on LinkedIn at http://jm.linkedin.com/in/dcallam.