What makes a good newspaper or magazine printer

What makes a good printer

Inevitably, the first characteristic most publishers look for is price. Advances in printing technology allows smaller, independent publishers to rightly demand low prices for lower print-runs. Document transfer speeds and transport logistics mean a monthly publication can effectively be printed anywhere in the world and be delivered to the publisher’s doorstep or their distribution channels within days of uploading the print-ready PDF’s.

Most printers aim to run their expensive machinery 24/7 – every hour short of this is lost money. This means if you are prepared to be flexible on your timing and turn-around times, you can negotiate excellent prices. As a rule of thumb, Tuesdays/Wednesdays with a 2-3 day turnaround will get you the lowest newsprint quotes, and A4 magazines with 5-7 days flexibility will get the best magazine printing deals.

Other important factors include pre-press service, account management software, billing cycles (many printers will not concede even a 30-day account until after 6-12 months, and instead demand upfront payment), and of course, quality!

Quality will be effected by:
* Type of stock you select – you get what you pay for on this one
* Types of inks used – not as relevant today as it was a few years ago, with machinery and software playing a larger role in the output result
* Experience and expertise of the printer’s pre-press team
* The publisher’s own graphics team – the quality of your files will be the most significant influence on the quality of your printed product. There is a lot to learn here and your printer should supply you with a detailed specification document covering registration, colour settings, shadow/highlights, contrast, saturation etc. If there is anything in your first print run that concerns you, ask!
* Attention and account management given to you by the printing company

Do not be shy about searching out of your territory and squeeze the printers for a good price. Some will tell you that your print size is too small to really draw any deals or discounts – you don’t want to do business with these sort of printers. Your printer needs to believe in your product and respect it as much as they do any of their big clients.

Keep your printers on their toes and re-evaluate all your suppliers at least annually.

Happy printing!!