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Magazine Publishing - How To Select The Right Printer

Aug 28, 2008
Even if you are a guru at printing, trying to print a few dozen magazines at a time is extremely time-consuming. Now, what if you wanted to print a few hundred?

Doing all that work by yourself would be really hard, even if it seems simple. That's why you may want to consider using a printing company to handle the final stages of your magazine's creation. Many of them are inexpensive, plus when they are finished, you are given a magazine that looks just as good as those that are already on the newsstands.

With that being said, there are four main types of printing companies you can use for your magazine: print-on-demand, brick-and-mortar printing shops, newspaper companies and sole proprietorships. More information on each of these options can be found below.

1. Print-on-Demand
Print-on-demand is a concept that is wildly popular for self-publishers, especially when it comes to books. Basically, instead of requiring authors to print hundreds or even thousands of publications at a time, print-on-demand companies give the option of printing only when there is a need for it. For example, if you have 200 subscribers you need to send your magazine out to, the number of copies you would need to print would be 200.

The only exception is if a print-on-demand company requires a minimum order. In this situation, you would have to order whatever they request, even if you don't have an immediate need for them. This is a little bit more inconvenient, but it's still better than dealing with a traditional publisher.

2. Brick-and-Mortar Printing Shops
If you would like to get your magazines printed out quickly, you can go to a brick-and-mortar printing shop, where you would be working with a printer in person. And, unlike many print-on-demand services, there's usually no limit to how much you can print. This means you could print as little as one magazine if you wanted to.

In fact, you may want to do this anyway, so you can get an idea of how your layouts look in print. If things don't look right, you don't have to waste any more money. Simply make the changes print out one copy again and see how it looks. You can keep doing this until you find what you're looking for.

As far as price, this will vary depending on the print shop you work with. Well-established printing shops will probably charge more. But independent print shops or even newspaper publishers may charge insanely low amounts. That's why it pays to shop around, calling different printing shops in your local phone book.

3. Newspaper Companies
Your local newspaper might be willing to print your magazine at a very affordable rate. However, you will probably have to buy your printouts in bulk, usually 1,000 or so at a time.Of course, not being able to have color on every page could be annoying, but if you're creative you can get around this.

Perhaps you can include color only on your sponsors pages. Or, you could include color on your feature articles, where you can expect the most views from your subscribers. Either way, you're going to have to learn how to distribute your colored pages wisely, since newspaper companies may charge more if you go over their 8-page limit.

4. Sole Proprietorships
Sole proprietorships are companies established by one person. They may have a staff to operate the business, though often times the owner tends to do everything. This could be a disadvantage because if they get too much work at one time, they may not be able to accommodate you. But on the upside, sole proprietors tend to offer very low rates. They may also throw in other services, such as graphic design or even content creation.
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