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Lightscribe is a system which burns a label image into discs. While you need to use a special drive and discs, the software for it is free. The system is wasteless, requiring no extra labels, ink or anything else. The best thing about it is that it is cheap and simple: Put the disc in label side down, burn the label, turn it over and burn the data. Lightscribe labeled discs are greyscale only, as the image is burned on, but the image is more durable than a paper equivalent and certainly looks better than a CD marker.
Although intially expensive, the price for these discs has come down to almost parity with normal DVDs and CDs. The only problem I have had is availability. Many stores charge high prices for these discs or don't stock them so you may have to look online to find a reasonable price. This is particularly true if you are buying in bulk.
With lightscribe, the label burn can take a little while, particularly if you are burning a detailed or dark label. It can take longer to burn the label than the data, so getting good quality discs that get it right first time is important to avoid wasted time. Verbatim is one of the main Lightscribe disc manufacturers and, in my opinion, one of the best.
I use the Verbatim DVD-R lightscribe discs for my video DVDs and film work. The failure rate on data burning is low: I've had one disc fail to hold data out of several hundred, which is amazingly good quality for the price. Regarding scratch resistance, they are hard-wearing for DVDs. I've dropped a couple and they have been fine.
The label quality is also excellent. For best results, like all lightscribe discs, make sure the label surface is clean and clear before burning. The few label errors I have had have been caused by fingerprints or dust on the surface interupting the burning. I do use photograps in labels, and these discs have taken the darkest and highest quality settings from my burner without problems, producing high quality without blurring.