34 Replies Latest reply on Sep 21, 2012 9:16 AM by Paul R Stark

    Should I purchase a digital printer?

    Paul R Stark Level 1

      We are looking at long term printing of workbooks and other educational materials, but we'll be starting with production runs of as little as 100-200. Our first publication is 42 full-color pages, 8-1/2 x 11, probably on 80-100 lb. gloss stock. We think our cheapest option is saddle stictching 11 x 17.

       

      This is basically a cost/benefit question. Is there an inexpensive digital printer, new or used, that can be purchased that will compete with a local digital printing shop charging $3.50 or so each for a run of 200 and get comparable quality? I understand that we would have to do our own folding, stapling, and trimming.

       

      Bottom line: we need to get a good looking product out fast and cheap.

       

      Thx.

       

      Paul

       

      P.S. I'm having a hard time finding local printers who will charge a low fee for a small run.

        • 1. Re: Should I purchase a digital printer?
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          In my experience it's impossible for the small guy to do runs of that size in-house and get the quality at a price even close to what a commercial shop can deliver. I have a $5,000 color laser here that I use pretty much just for proofing and really short run stuff like 100 business cards that I need the same day. My cost to operate it is higher than I pay my printer in most cases.

           

          Commercial shops keep the equipment running all day which means they can lease it on favorable terms, and they can get better equipment than you or I can afford, and they can replace it when it becomes worn out or obsolete (which is the source for most of the equipment you'll find on the used market).

           

          If the local guys won't help you out, start looking a little wider. There are a lot of printers out there, and they're all hungry.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Should I purchase a digital printer?
            Paul R Stark Level 1

            Yikes!

             

            Okay, thanks.