People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

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People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby kzuich » February 18th, 2018, 1:25 pm

Hey, all! I'm working towards doing a printed collection of my webcomic, and am curious to see the consensus here on which company people go with, and what their experience has been with them.

I actually did a test run with Lulu last summer, and I found it was pretty nice quality for the price!
But I'd love to see what other options are out there and how people liked their end products. :3
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby kayotics » February 18th, 2018, 2:50 pm

I've used Lulu for online printing before. It's ok quality, but some of the lines weren't as crisp as I'd like. Like you said, it's good for the price.

For Lulu, I've been told to not do any color printing as a recommendation.

I don't have any other online printing service experience, but it would be worth looking into local printers. Sometimes you can get a decent price for those, but most will require a minimum order. Lulu is nice because that minimum order requirement isn't necessary.
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby kzuich » February 19th, 2018, 12:01 pm

kayotics wrote:I've used Lulu for online printing before. It's ok quality, but some of the lines weren't as crisp as I'd like. Like you said, it's good for the price.

For Lulu, I've been told to not do any color printing as a recommendation.

I don't have any other online printing service experience, but it would be worth looking into local printers. Sometimes you can get a decent price for those, but most will require a minimum order. Lulu is nice because that minimum order requirement isn't necessary.


That's good to know!
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby oh-no-melon » February 19th, 2018, 5:07 pm

This is an interesting topic and I'm always interested to hear people's experiences with other printers. I think all of us have a hope that one day our comics will end up printed in one shape or another.
Some printers I've been looking at or have experienced are Greko Printing, Lulu, Ka-blam, and a few smaller, local printers. Lulu had a good small run but I agree with what others have said about their color; it is a little lack luster especially since I've seen examples of the art bleeding through thinner papers. Ka-Blam I've bought comics from other artists and I'm fairly impressed with their quality though all the comics I've gotten from them are also in black and white. I'm really interested in Greko Printing as they offer small runs and allow you to choose a thicker paper for printing in color. I've read positive reviews for all as well as some negative reviews but definitely am thinking about Greko for my own personal comic coming up.
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby eishiya » February 19th, 2018, 5:38 pm

I've got some (old-ish) Ka-Blam comics, the colour looks kinda grainy and uneven. I wouldn't want that for my colour comics. The lines look fine though.

Personally, I think it's worth looking into offset printing whenever you're not in a rush to get it printed and completely sold. It's a lot more affordable than a lot of people think, since the per-book costs are much lower than digital printing. Because of the higher profit margin, you only need to sell a fraction of the books to pay for the run, and the rest are all profit. The up-front cost for the run is a challenge, but doing a crowdfunding campaign for $500-2000 isn't too scary, even if you don't have a huge audience. The really scary part is storing all those books until you sell them.
It's definitely not a good option for every artist and every book, but don't pass it by just because it sounds expensive.
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby kayotics » February 20th, 2018, 12:29 pm

All of these comments are really helpful in general, but I'm wondering if maybe you're going about it the wrong way? I'm guessing you're pretty new to printing books? My advice: start small.

I'd recommend actually doing some self-done zines to start with and go to some small print conventions/zine conventions. You can print those at home or at a shop like Office Depot. It takes a little trail and error to get the PDFs to print in a booklet format right, but it's less of an upfront cost like printing certain amount of books. But, if you're doing staple-bound books, you're going to have to keep it under 26 pages, probably. Office Depot often does have the option to do perfect bound books (bound with glue rather than a spiral or staples) which holds more paper. Try these small steps first to see how well you can sell them rather than putting a lot of money into printing through a service.

One thing that is reasonably priced and LOOKS really cool is Riso printing. If you can find a place that does Riso printing near you, I'd investigate that.
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby infiniteforces » April 9th, 2018, 2:46 pm

I have used Greko Printing (Comix Well Spring) and Ka-blam. With Ka-Blam, there is no minimum order. Print only one copy if you want. Ordering at least one printed copy also qualifies your comic to be in their digital/print-on-demand store, Indy Planet. I personally am a fan of their printing. Paper is top notch quality. Colors can vary a bit, but overall I thought they did a really fine job.

Greko requires a minimum of 25 printed copies. I thought the print quality was good as well, but Ka-Blam uses better quality paper. Greko was faster and cheaper than Ka-Blam. You can also call Greko on the phone if you have an issue. Ka-Blam uses this pain in the ass messaging system that I am not a fan of. Overall, I think both get the job done.

If you have never done print, you really should visit both of their sites and download the print specifications and templates. You then should design your art from the ground up to meet those specs. Not doing so will likely cause you to make an expensive mistake.
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Re: People who've done a print run- Which company and why?

Postby Gibson Twist » July 12th, 2018, 3:29 pm

We've used Ingram for years with varying degrees of customer service, but they are among the least expensive for the quality, especially their prices on colour printing. The biggest down side is they charge set-up fees for each title, but are essentially low-price print-on-demand after that. We use their Lightning Source branch, but I believe most self-publishers now are assigned to Ingram Spark for essentially the same services. Their printing facilities are in the US. There is an application process, but it's not painful.

I've seen a few decently printed books out of a small California(?) based company called Keness. Good quality, good prices from what I remember, though I never used them myself. If memory serves, they don't offer full colour, but I might be mistaken. They also print in the US, I think.

The best quality/price printing is definitely offset through a regular (not web-based) printer, but the minimums are high, probably higher than most of us on SJ are going to need. The low end starts around 300, and the price goes down as you print more. Cushing-Molloy, Thomson Shore, and Sheridan are some of the reasonably priced/good quality printers we've found, but there absolutely scads more. Any printer worth considering will send you samples and provide a quote when asked.
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