book printing, magazine printing, catalog printing

In a tight economy when you print as part of your marketing strategy the issue of controlling costs can be paramount. While there are many things you can do in order to keep costs down, such as reducing paper weight, less pages, etc. there is one item that can greatly affect your costs: YIELD. Let’s take a look at what yield is and what it means to you and your wallet.

No matter what you are printing from books to magazines or catalogs, the yield is defined by the net result you receive at a specified cost for your finished product. In business the definition is “bring in, realize, gain, make, take in, clear” and in printing it is relatively the same as in “with a fixed amount of dollars, how many books or magazines can you clear when the job is done.” The answer to this is defined by your specifications which may include size of book, magazine or catalog and page count.

In the final analysis “size matters” as it determines how many pages of your piece will efficiently layout on a press sheet. For example with an 8.5 x 11” page size you are printing 16 pages on a signature at the same time. If you increase your page size to 8.5 x 14 you are printing 12 pages on the signature. Not only do you get fewer pages per magazine or catalog but many web presses will charge you more to print 12 pages than 16 for a given signature as it may present set up and bindery issues for them. One fallacy regarding size is that a slightly smaller size should be slightly cheaper on press. For example, if you reduce your page size to 7 x 10 all you may be creating is paper waste on press but not reducing your costs. On a sheet fed press there are just so many flat sheet parent sizes and whether this size or letter size you more than likely will still be printing on the same sheet, with the same amount of plates and pre press charges. Some web presses may be able to get slightly smaller roll sizes so there is some savings but negligible.

Page count is a very important factor when planning for your book, magazine or catalog. The key is to fill the signature so you do not have an odd page count. It is very costly to run a job on a press that prints efficiently in 16 full page counts. Many web offset printing presses can print 32 page signatures with double rolls referred to as “double sixteen page signatures.” Some book printing presses can print 64 page signatures and in the case of the larger presses it may even be less costly to print more pages with full signatures rather than a convoluted amalgam of mixed signatures in order to make up a page count that you seek.

For writers and publishers you can control the signatures you print by creatively using margins, font (type), type sizes as well as “kerning” the font, which is widening or closing the gaps between the letters as well as adjusting the spacing between each line so that you have more or less copy on a page which ultimately will define how many pages you wind up with. Simplistic programs such as Microsoft Word allow you to kern the copy as well as to somewhat control the spaces between each line. However there is much more control of this with actual graphics programs such as InDesign, Quark or Illustrator.

Therefore when you consider in future how to control your costs for book printing, magazine printing or catalog production, consider these things mentioned above as there is more control in your hands than you may think you have.


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