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BellaOnline's Desktop Publishing / Ebooks Editor

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Desk Top Publishing: Print Choices

Guest Author - Chris Curtis

The size and type of your printing project will dictate the method you choose for printing your publication. When deciding on how to best get your print job done, you must consider these factors:

Cost
Quality
Quantity
Time

Your obvious objective is to produce the number of copies you need at the highest quality with the least cost, and as quickly as possible. Of course, you must also consider the equipment needs, time and cost involved with the assembly of your print job when multiple pages are involved. Should you choose to do the job yourself, don't forget to factor in your time, ink, paper, and utility costs for a fair comparison of how much it will cost you to do the job.

Desktop Printer

Today's desktop printers are capable of producing high quality print and are relatively inexpensive to use. The cost of the ink cartridges you use is a prime consideration. Using generic cartridges can reduce your cost but the quality of the print may suffer. You should use a cartridge made especially for your printer if you want to produce the best quality print for your project. You also must consider the cost and quality of the paper you choose for your project. Printer speed and your time to manage the print and assembly job is also a major consideration in choosing to use your desktop printer.

Use a desktop printer when:

You need only a few copies or few pages.
You have no special assembly considerations.
Your printer is capable of printing the quality you need.
Your cost for ink cartridges and paper provide the least expensive option.
You have the time available to wait on your printer.

Copy Center

Your second option for a print job is using a Copy center. Choosing to copy and assemble the job yourself can reduce the cost of producing the job. Prices per copy generally range from 3 to 10 cents per copy. You can also contract with the copy center to assemble the job for you. Be sure to get a estimate for the job before you agree to let the copy center handle the job. Copy center prices are competitive, therefore, price multiple centers. It is also prudent to assess the reputation of the center to determine their ability to deliver on time and without error.

Use a copy shop when:

You need many copies or many pages per copy.
You need the copies folded, bound, or stapled.
You need the print job done quickly.
You need to produce the publication at a low cost.

Commercial Printing Service

Once the quantity of a print job reaches a certain size, printing at a commercial printing service can cost the same as it does at a copy shop. Before ordering a large print run, check with your commercial printing service and copy shop to see which option is least expensive. Again reputation for quality service is important. You would also want to consider a Commercial Printer when you have special color considerations.

Use a commercial printing service when:

You need the highest quality printing.
You need special paper.
You have special color considerations.
You need a large number of copies.
You need the copies folded, bound, or stapled.
You need other fabrication work, such as embossing, foil stamping, or die cutting.

Whether you are producing the publication for a business, family, hobby, social or charitable organization, you are sure to want to get the job done well. Consider all of your options carefully before making your choice.
Microsoft Publisher Deluxe 2002 has made some great improvements to provide a moderately price product for people needing a Desk Top Publishing program.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chris Curtis. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Nunn for details.

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