View Full Version : Printing Newbie


I currently run a small advertising booklet and I am hoping to expand in the coming months. I have been thinking of printing my own booklets which would save me alot of money. I am aware that's alot easier said than done.

I was hoping I could get some advice on which printer am I best to buy?, will I be able to hire someone to train me on how to use it etc.

I've just started looking into this so don't really know much about & if it's even possible.

The booklet I run is 20'000 copies & 36 pages, as I said I will be increasing this number in the near future.

Any advice would be much appreciated.



Any digital printing device you buy for this will cost you an arm and a leg! You mostly rent them and they charge by impressions, plus they won't hold that many pages, possibly max 2000. Then it needs a finishing end, and that costs money, to fold, trim stack etc. Plus you need to buy and stock the paper. You will spend more money on digitally printing this yourself than you would on getting a professional printers to lithographically print it.

That being said, you could buy a lithographic printing press. You would need all the chemicals used to clean machine, plus a safe disposal (you can't use the sink). Maintenance contract.

You would need a computer to impose the finished booklet, that is setting it up to print in printers pairs. Knowledge of impositions. Software and computer maintenance costs.

You would need a machine for making the plates, either with film or direct to plate. More maintenance contracts.
Or you could save money on this equipment by outsourcing the plates to be made.

Folding machines, you'd need a Muller or similar to fold and stitch the booklets, more maintenance contracts.

Industrial guillotines to trim the paper.

Plus you need staff to man all these things mentioned above.

To be honest - it's not worth it if all you have is 1 booklet to print.

Your cheaper alternative is to find a new printer that can help save on costs. Best to email a few and get competitive quotes.

If you're expanding then consider increasing your advertising costs (or introduce advertising) into the booklet and have paid for that way. Most people offset the price of the printing with adverts. Look up ad rates on google.

The only cost effective way to print that many books is to use a litho press, which requires an investment well into 6 figures, maybe even 7 by the time you've bought a plate maker, guillotine as well as the required collating and finishing machinery. Then there's the cost of new premises to house all of this stuff AND the cost of employing people to run all of the gear, for 2 or 3 years whilst you learn the trade (being a great printer isn't something you can learn in a few hours).

I've been working on these advertising publications for the last 6 odd years, distributing to between 200,000 & 250,000 letter boxes a month and I would say forget buying a printer! It will ruin your business model and leave you bankrupt. If you have a reasonable amount of capital to invest into your business, look at different ways of getting your publication out there through web, apps etc.. and add value to your brand!

If you want to cut costs, look at the paper weight you're printing on compared to the competition. Most advertising publications are on a cheap, low weight stock with a slightly higher weighted cover. If you can bulk up your pagination to 48 pages, start speaking to web-printers such as Yorkshire Web or Acorn Web (I'm sure there are hundreds more but they're the first ones that come to mind).

On a side note, where abouts in the country are you based?

Cutting paper weight down is not the only way to save on costs.

You could also consider resizing your publication. I resized our magazine from

190mm x 260 mm


190mm x 250mm

And that took 10 grand off our yearly bill.

I agree it's not really worth it after reading this, I've been a bit naive thinking it would have been easier.

This info has been a great help and I will look into other means to cost cost.

Thank You