10 Tips for Publishers

How to reduce the impact of rising costs in Print

1) Format – Did you know; by reducing an A4 publication by 20%, can potentially halve the number of printed sheets required to run for your publication. This would save alot on paper, as well as reduce the printing cost at the same time.

Alternatively, if you already have an unusual format size and your print quantity and pagination are substantial enough, or  if you are willing to commit to purchasing enough paper in advance (usually 3 tonnes min) then you can obtain a making of paper for you, which would be a custom made order in a specific size, which is not usually found in stock. Therefore by using a custom size, savings can be made as there will be less wasted paper.

2) Paper choice – There a many different types of papers available and sometimes the paper type can be neglected. Whilst similar papers from different brands usually cost around the same amount, sometimes we can offer alternative papers that cost less. If you are currently letting a printer supply and don’t specify the paper brand, then they are unlikely to be passing on any savings they may be enjoying. We can help identify alternative papers that will be of a financial benefit to you.

As an example, we have recently done just that. A publishing customer of ours had seen paper prices rise several times during 2018/19. They were initially very reluctant to switch paper for their publication, as it had originally taken quite some time to find a suitable paper that met their specific requirements for this particular title. In the meantime, we pro-actively searched and managed to source an alternative paper and set about making a paper dummy to re-assure the publisher of how it would look. The new paper not only met their specific environmental & sustainable requirements, but allowed us to deliver cost savings to them of almost £1,000 per issue, which totally absorbed all 2018/19 paper mill price increases they incurred with the original paper.

On lighter weight papers, there are some fantastic high bulk alternatives on the market now too, meaning you can switch to a lighter weight paper where you gain on the yield without compromising on the quality, bulk or look of your publication keeping your readers happy, but gaining on the cost reduction.

If you are already supplying paper to your printer, ensure you are working to a fair agreed usage policy and that these are reviewed on a regular basis. Newer print machinery makes ready in less time with less waste, so make sure you are seeing this benefit in your net paper usage.

3) Paginations – 16 is the magic number. If you can keep your publication pagination divisible by 16, then you will maximise the unit cost per page of your magazine. Smaller section sizes are of course possible, but will often come at a higher unit cost.

4) Scheduling – Printing doesn’t always cost the same throughout the month. If you have a close relationship with your print supplier(s) like we do, it’s quite possible to glean preferential rates for printing your magazine in those quieter periods. If you have obtained a quotation from your supplier without giving them any forward publication schedule, then it’s unlikely that you will be experiencing this special rate. The estimators are unlikely to account for these reductions unless they have been advised by someone else to be extra lean with the cost. The story doesn’t just end there; it could be you currently plan to have your magazine “On Sale” in the peak weeks, as this is the busy period for your supplier, you won’t be experiencing the best price, as the demand for printing in these weeks is high, therefore it’s highly unlikely to be discounted.

So what happens if you don’t want to change your “On Sale”, are you never going to get the best rate?. Well if you look at it in a different way, it’s still possible.

Could you bring our copy dates forward enough to be printing the issue in the quieter weeks, so that the magazine is ready ahead of the required distribution date, thus giving you the opportunity of savings through your print partner.

5) Planning up together – Do you have multiple titles?. If you can publish titles of the same trimmed page size or same paper types together at the same time, then it is possible you could see some small financial benefits. These can be given, as you will be reducing the amount of full make readies on the print machines. If the magazines are also the same paginations and finished the same, then small savings on the finishing could also be made. Furthermore, you could save on final deliveries too if these can all be put together on the same vehicle.

International Property Print Client6) Finishing/Finishes – If you have particular cover treatment, it will be adding cost and also potentially adding time to your schedule. There are a lot of press inline treatments nowadays, that can help to reduce overall cost and lead time. You need to consider if they are really required for a purpose apart from cosmetic, or you could be wasting your budget.

7) Mailing – Since the abolition of the Royal Mail monopoly over a decade ago, there are now many additional 3rd party companies offering alternative delivery solutions. Added to this are a whole host of different services depending on the type of product you are mailing out. If you haven’t re-visited this recently, then you could very easily be on the wrong tariff and you might be missing out on some big savings. Royal Mail have themselves introduced a new subscription mail service, so this may also be worth considering. You can view the Royal Mail pricing calculator

If you have overseas subscriptions, then this is an area where there is potential for big postal savings to be made. This can be done through a consolidator and despite the consolidation process, it can often improve the delivery timescales to international countries, so not only do you save, your customers receive their magazine quicker too.

8) Distribution – How you get your products in front of your target audience is vitally important, and it’s just as important to get good positioning. We can assist with getting you into relevant retailers and also niche outlets and also give you up to date EPOS information.

9) Language – It could be possible that your magazine could gain some ground in overseas markets. If it was re-worked to fit into the local culture. If you are looking to licence or launch your magazine in a foreign country then you are likely going to need a translation service, that is well aware of the local dialect and tone of voice required for that particular country.

10) Manpower – A magazine requires a lot of input, dedication and hard work to put together. If resources are stretched, for whatever reason, there are plenty of freelancers who are experts in their field, that would be able to assist you in your passion for success. We can also offer that resource that you can tap into as and when those are needed, through our sister company Symbian Create.


All of the above can go some way to reducing direct costs and making a difference to your business. Most of these can be carried out without compromising on the quality of your publications. If you need support, or wish to explore any of the above, by way of a free audit, or alternatively would just like to ask us a few questions, then our expert team would be more than happy to talk to you. Just click the button below or give us a call on 01279 810 740




Other Things to Consider

Reprints – In the event you need to reprint your publication for whatever reason, if the quantity is much different from the original run, then you might be better off printing this at an alternative supplier. This should definitely be considered if you are reprinting a small quantity and this is where digital printing comes into it’s own. It’s a great way to re-produce a small quantity with a fast turnaround and depending on the specification, the print quality can be as good as Litho printing, although not every machine prints to that quality standard, so investigate first, if this is critical to you.

Digital Replication – If you are not re-producing your magazine in an online format, then you are possibly losing readership. In this digital age, customers want the convenience to digest content as and when they want it and sometimes this can be on the move via mobile devices, so it’s an important area to test out and develop as part of your subscriber offering. It’s a nicer experience to use a dedicated application for this, rather than just creating a bog standard PDF that subscribers download or read online.

Mobile App – If your magazine content suits and you want to offer something more complex in the form of a digital offering, then an app could be right for you. It allows readers to instantly access the publication, aswell as previous archived issues and the right designers can make your content interactive, so the user experience is more immersive and the content is richer. It also gives you the power to push notifications to your subscribers directly, which can keep you directly in touch with them, allowing you to keep them more informed.

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Symbian Print aims to deliver a regular flow of advice and inspiration in the print industry. Offering unique resources, the latest insight and informative tutorials on the latest trends and developments in global print game.

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