Shweiki Media Printing Company Offers an Explanation of the Different Factors Involved in Pricing Magazine Printing to Assist Publishers in Determining Costs

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From trim size to binding and coating, there are factors upon factors involved in pricing magazine printing. It's not as simple as just asking, "How much does it cost to print 5,000 magazines?"--there are multiple decisions to make and details to take into consideration. Here Shweiki Media provides a brief explanation of options publishers should think about when printing magazines and explains both how these can affect cost and how to determine which choices are best for the individual publication.

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One would like to ask, "What does it cost to print 1,000 magazines, or 5,000 magazines, 10,000 magazines, etc...?" and hope that they will get a quick answer, but unfortunately, it's not that simple...

One would like to ask, "What does it cost to print 1,000 magazines, or 5,000 magazines, 10,000 magazines, etc…?" and hope that they will get a quick answer, but unfortunately, it's not that simple. The costs associated with printing any publication are tied to multiple factors, and here Shweiki Media identifies those factors and provides helpful information to help users find the best situation/deal for themselves.

How much does printing cost?

First, to get a complete and accurate cost, one should know the following facts about the printing job:

  • Final Trim Size: The final size of the finished magazine after it is trimmed (i.e. 8 3/8 x 10 7/8):

This is not to be confused with the size of the files. It's important to note that dimensions are given in "width x height." The easiest way to remember this is that the height is the side where the binding or spine is. So, if one provides a dimension of 10 7/8 x 8 3/8, this magazine would be bound on the 8 3/8 side and would look more like a landscape than a portrait view.

  • Page Count - Number of pages that will be sent, including covers:

This is not to be confused with the number of sheets of paper, or the number of spreads. Often, this can be a source of confusion and will lead to miscommunication. If one is talking in sheets, while the estimator is talking in pages, one is going to end up thinking that they got an incredible price...until the files come in! So it's important to count each page--cover is page 1, inside cover is page 2, etc., until the back cover, which is the last page. One other way that to communicate page count is by giving a “+ cover” count--i.e. providing the total number of inside pages + the 4-page cover (front cover, inside front cover, inside back cover, back cover). But for the sake of clarity, it's always be best to say 64+4 or 68 total pages, etc.

  • Paper - The weight, grade, and stock of the paper on which the project will be printed on:

Paper Weight - Magazines can be printed on either the same type of paper on the inside pages and the cover, a style that is referred to as "self cover," or a thicker paper on the cover pages and a thinner paper on inside pages (often referred to as the body or guts). There are many different paper weights and stocks to choose--here is a list of them from the thinnest paper stocks to the thickest:

  • 38 lb text
  • 40 lb text
  • 45 lb text
  • 50 lb text
  • 60 lb text
  • 70 lb text
  • 80 lb text
  • 100 lb text
  • 60 lb cover (same as 6 pt cover)
  • 70 lb cover (same as 7 pt cover)
  • 80 lb cover (same as 8 pt cover)
  • 100 lb cover (same as 10 pt cover)
  • 120 lb cover (same as 12 pt cover)
  • 140 lb cover (same as 14 pt cover).

Paper Grade – Paper is graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the whitest of the whites, and 5 being a lower quality paper that typically has a yellow-ish tint. Grade 4 or 5 paper is often described as groundwood. Standard magazine-grade paper is normally a no.3 grade. However, occasionally a lower grade paper, like a no.4 or no.5 might work for inside pages and you will need to be the judge of that.

Paper Stock – There are 3 main paper types to choose from:

Gloss - The majority of magazines today are printed on gloss paper. Gloss papers are coated to give them a shiny or lustrous appearance. Gloss papers are less opaque, have less bulk, and are less expensive than dull or matte papers. One should use gloss paper if they want colors to “pop.”

Dull - Smooth surface paper that is low in gloss. Dull coated paper falls between matte and glossy paper.

Matte - A non-glossy, flat-looking paper. Matte papers are normally a bit higher in cost, and are the perfect choice to make a publication have an elegant feel.

  • Quantity - The number of printed copies needed:

If one wants 100, or 500 or 1,000 or 5,000 etc., it's important to let the printer know. It is normal for printers to allow anywhere from a 3%-5%-10% overage/underage and one can read more about that here. Some printers charge for overs that might not be wanted, so it's important to be very clear when getting bids and ask about any overage policies up front.

  • Binding Style : The format in which themagazine will be bound:

There are a few different types of binding, with the two most common being perfect-bound & saddle-bound.

Perfect-bound:

This is the square-edge look that one sees with some of the larger page count magazines on newsstands. There is not really a maximum number of pages that can be perfect bound, but there is normally a minimum amount of pages required to perfect bind. One could ask printer for their minimum requirements.

Saddle-bound (or saddle-stitching):

This is the binding process that uses staples. Normally, saddle stitching is a bit more cost-effective when compared to perfect binding. There is no minimum page count required but there normally is a maximum. Again, one should just ask their printer.

Spiral binding:

This is the also referred to as coil binding, and it is the binding normally used for cookbooks or notebooks- or any other publication with pages that need to open up completely and lay flat to be the most useful to the reader. Spiral binding is usually much more expensive than saddle or perfect binding, but it certainly has it's place.

Case binding:

This is the most common type of binding used for hardbound books, like text books or novels. In the case binding process, pages are sewn together, hard covers are attached, and then covered with cloth, vinyl, or leather cases.

  • Coatings : One will need to determine if their magazine needs a coating.

The most common coatings for magazine covers are gloss UV, matte UV and Varnish.

-Gloss UV – This is the extra shiny coating that adds a sheen to the printed product. Gloss UV will enhance colors and preserve the paper from fading, yellowing or tearing.
-Matte UV – This coating gives the cover a more textured, smoother feel.
-Varnish – The best way to describe varnish is a less glossy, less shiny Gloss-UV.

  • Shipping : The exact address of where everything needs to be shipped:

It is best to let a printer know exactly where everything ships, as well as the details of the shipment: Is it going to a residential neighborhood? Is the shipment going somewhere that does not have a dock and will need a lift gate? Also, it's important to let the printer know if magazines should be shipped in boxes or straps. Some printers charge for boxes, so one should make sure to ask when getting a quote.

Helpful hints when getting magazine pricing:

  • It's necessary to know that for self covers (magazines with the same paper thru the whole thing), page counts that will get pricing pricing will usually be in multiples of 16 (16, 32, 48, 64 etc…). So, when asking for pricing on a self cover magazine at 12 or 28 or 44 pages and if a printer does not suggest 16 or 32 or 48-page option, hang up the phone immediately!
  • It's important to find always get samples ahead of time. Some paper stocks are similar enough in feel that it will be worth it to get the lesser grade to save on costs. 45-lb paper can often replace a 50-lb, 6- lb paper can often replace 70-lb and 8-pt papers can often replace 10-pt, without the average person being able to tell much of a difference in feel. Conversely, 50-lb paper feels much thinner than 60-lb. Of course, it's important for a publisher to get samples and feel them for themselves.
  • Invest in the cover over the inside pages. People really do judge a book by it's cover!
  • If one isn't dead-set on the final size, they can look at other options that can save money. Some common sizes that can garner lower pricing are 8 3/8 x 10 7/8, 6 x 9 and 5 3/8 x 8 3/8. If one desires a different look but still wants to to have a full size publication, most printers can print at a final size of 9 x 10 7/8, and it will cost close to what on would pay for an 8 3/8 x 10 7/8 size.
  • One should get multiple options from the printer to see if a different look is worth the additional cost or additional savings. It's important to never assume anything, and know that "it is much more expensive or a lot cheaper” is completely relative and will mean something different to everyone.

For particularly excellent printing, click here.

Shweiki Media's mission has always been to help publishers improve by providing the most profitable, hassle-free printing experience possible. This includes guaranteeing the highest quality product, exceptional customer service and on-time delivery.

As a printer and publisher, Shweiki Media also believes that this hassle-free experience includes making their clients better. Utilizing relationships with industry experts, Shweiki Media strives to educate clients and help them thrive in the exciting world of publishing--while having lots of fun along the way! (shweiki.com)

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David Reimherr
Shweiki Media
512-480-0893
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