Magazines are excellent promotional tools for businesses and non-profits because they offer an engaging opportunity to tell powerful stories and connect with your community with compelling interviews, informative articles, memorable photography, and insightful news about your business or the industry. Organizations love using these glossy, beautifully bound publications because they offer endless possibilities to promote, inform, and connect.
But self-publishing authors know that a lot goes into the planning, design, and printing of a magazine and balancing low cost magazine printing with the desire to end up with a gorgeous, printed publication can be challenging. So for creators who want low cost magazine printing without sacrificing quality, we have 10 simple tips you can follow to ensure that your magazine will turn out beautifully without breaking the bank.
Can I Really Find High Quality, Low Cost Magazine Printing?
Modern printing options like digital printing and offset printing produce high quality magazines for self-publishing creators that look just as professional as the big, glossy magazines you see on the retail shelf.
Experienced printing companies like Dazzle Printing are experts at using excellent materials with customizable options on everything from bindings to paper to cover materials to deliver gorgeous magazines for as few as 25 magazines in a printing run. This results in high quality, low cost magazine printing.
Tip #1: Use a Standard Size for Low Cost Magazine Printing
One of the benefits of self-publishing your magazine, book, or other printing project is that you can customize your project in a wide variety of ways, like choosing a unique or memorable size for the publication. But for those who are looking for low cost magazine printing options, choosing a standard magazine size of either 8 ½ x 11 or 5 ½ x 8 ½ will help keep costs low, since printers are set up to print and bind these sizes and won’t likely charge any extra for trimming paper for smaller sizes or using non-standard sized materials for bigger publications.
An added bonus to choosing a standard size for your magazine is that not only will readers easily recognize your publication as a magazine at a glance, but also retailers will be able to fit your magazine into their shelves if your publication is planned for commercial sales.
Tip #2: Print Quantities You Will Use
In the past, self-publishing meant authors would have to print large quantities of their projects because printers could not – and would not – print smaller quantities at one time. But with today’s on-demand printing capabilities, you can print just what you need and not spend more on magazines or books that you don’t want or have a place to store. Make sure you work with a printer that allows you to print the number of magazines that you need to add to your low cost magazine printing strategy.
Tip #3: Choose Cost-Effective Materials
Although your magazine’s materials can be as simple or as luxurious as you choose as a self-published creator, to have low cost magazine printing while still producing high quality authors can use cost-effective materials instead.
- Paper Choice: The weight of the paper can increase the cost of your printing project. Uncoated papers are less expensive options, but they may not be the best choice for periodicals with a lot of photography as pictures show up better on non-matte pages.
- Cover Materials: Heavier-weight material is usually expected for magazine covers to give them long-lasting strength and a typical magazine appearance, but it can add to production costs. But for high quality, low cost magazine printing, choose a coated paper with a glossy finish to accent your magazine and make it look beautiful.
- Extras: If you are planning on including anything additional in your magazine like coupons or company contact pages, make sure you use the least expensive materials for those extras. Instead of including them in the pages of your magazine, consider printing them separately and inserting them post-production for the most cost-effective strategy.
Tip #4: Select a Cost-Effective Binding for Low Cost Magazine Printing
Your self-published magazine can be bound with a spine using Perfect binding, and while this style produces a beautiful publication, it is a more expensive option. Perfect bound publications are secured using a strong adhesive to form the spine. But most magazines are secured using Saddle Stitch binding which utilizes strong staples to hold the sheets of folded-over pages together in the center of the book.
Authors seeking high quality, low cost magazine printing can use Saddle Stitch to bind their publications and still be very pleased with the way the magazine looks as well as the cost savings that using this binding brings.
Tip #5: Pay for Printing Costs with Advertisements
One way that magazine creators help to save money on printing costs is to sell in-magazine advertising to pay for the printing costs. Approaching industry partners to buy ad space in your magazine can furnish other businesses with an excellent marketing opportunity while also providing needed revenue to cover the costs associated with self-publishing.
Advertisements can be established as a one-time ad in your magazine or if you plan to publish on an ongoing basis, the advertisements could be set up to target specific clients or consumers based on each issue’s anticipated content and target customer.
Tip #6: Use Advertorials to Offset Costs for Low Cost Magazine Printing
Similar to advertising, an advertorial is an advertisement that is couched in the format of an article. Advertorial space can be sold to those in related industries or to leaders in their field of expertise to bring value to the reader while also bringing in needed revenue. Since advertorial columns can be utilized as regular features or as a spotlighted article in a singularly published project, they are very versatile and can be a smart way to produce high quality, low cost magazine printing.
Tip #7: Create Smart Marketing Content
Selling advertising space in your magazine is not the only way to increase your business’s income. By publishing creative marketing content you can use your publication to drive traffic to your ongoing revenue streams in three basic ways.
1 Use your magazine to link content directly to promote your products and services. Articles that spotlight specific products or services can showcase specific products or services and explain how your products uniquely fill a niche in the marketplace.
2 By focusing magazine content specifically on product rollouts, publications timed correctly can act as a perfect introduction to a new market concept. With a thorough explanation, colorful photographs, and detailed product information, magazines can act as slick, gorgeous advertisements that readers will love and can save you money in marketing costs elsewhere.
3 Drive digital traffic using your magazine as a physical resource for your social media handles and your website address. Consider adding a QR code that will take users directly to your social media, your website, or even where they can order products.
Tip #8: Lean into Text Content
Even though stunning photography is a key facet of a successful magazine, those glossy, full-color photos can drive up the cost of printing. To ensure low cost magazine printing, create content that costs less to print.
- Text is cheaper to print because the single ink color costs less. Include more text content than photos, graphics, or other non-text elements to save on printing costs. The bonus is that readers will receive more meaningful content when the magazine is text-heavy, helping to create low cost magazine printing.
- Leaning into text means you will spend less money on professional photography costs. Since all photos in a magazine need to be high-quality pictures of at least 300 dpi, most authors need to use a professional photographer to capture the perfect images that also meet the minimum picture requirements so the magazine’s layouts will look crisp and defined. Using photos only where necessary for impact will save printing costs while still delivering a high quality magazine for your readers to enjoy.
Tip #9: Work with a Quality Printer
One of the best ways to save money printing is to partner with an expert printer like Dazzle Printing. Not only can you be assured that your magazine looks fantastic, be constructed with quality materials, and printing will be a good value, but you can also benefit from their proofing process to make sure that your magazine looks amazing.
Be sure to choose a printer that offers both a digital and a physical proof option of the magazine’s final draft for you to look over, so you and the printer can catch errors or problems before printing. Many printers only offer digital PDF proofs, but creators often like to hold a physical proof in their hands and see how the magazine will look when published.
Catching errors before the magazine goes to print can save you a lot of money in reprinting costs as well as put your mind at ease about how your final product will look once it arrives from the printer, ready to distribute to customers, potential clients, and the community.