The paper you choose for printing has a huge affect on your costs. There are three choices you make for your paper- the weight, grade, and stock.
- Paper weight refers to the thickness of the paper, and ranges from 38-100 for text pages and 60-140 for covers. Thicker paper is more durable and professional, but is also significantly more expensive.
- Paper grade measures the "whiteness" of the paper, and ranges from 1 to 5 (1 being the whitest). Most magazines are printed on paper grade 3, but you can save by going down to 4 or 5.
- Paper stock can be glossy, dull, or matte. Magazines tend to choose glossy paper, but at a significant expense.
Choosing the right printer can be the biggest cost savings of all. Some printers offer you a low cost but cut corners on quality, while others can save you money in other ways. Talk to your printer and see samples before deciding. Modern Litho is a great example of a publisher that works with small magazines to print affordably.
The typical magazine-style binding is perfect-bound, which creates a square edge on the side of the magazine. Other bindings include saddle-bound (stapled) and spiral-bound, which can save you some money as compared to perfect-bound.
Trim size refers to the finished size of the magazine. Larger paper obviously costs more money than standard size, but smaller is not always cheaper. Be sure to choose standard sizes that are regularly available, because an irregular size may require special ordering or additional cutting costs.
The advertisers that you get are the most significant way to offset printing costs. Remember that cutting corners on things like paper quality may affect the advertisers you get, so be sure to appeal to advertisers and readers at the same time as you save money. This article helps to find advertisers for a first time printing.