What's the best way to print 300 pages worth of documents?
July 28, 2010 5:47 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to print 300 pages worth of documents? (Said documents are currently PDFs.)

I'm trying to minimize cost.

I have an inkjet, but it sucks. I would be willing to buy a new one, but it seems like it might not be most efficient way.

Using a computer station at Kinkos is 49 cents per page. No thanks. I didn't ask the front desk for other ways to achieve my goal, but I'm not confident it'll be any better.

Any one have any recommendations?
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Who are they for? Personal consumption or distribution? When I need a big document for personal use I print it 2- or 4-per page, double sided on a home printer. As long as I can read it I don't much care.

If you need to have them looking nice for distribution, then you can either upgrade them or pay for printing - you might be able to get a bulk rate for 300 pages. The choice there depends on whether this is a one-time thing or if it'll happen on a regular basis.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2010

Is the pdf in colour or black and white?
posted by Proginoskes at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2010

Staples.com will give a quote on how much it'll cost to print the documents, with or without covers, bindings, color, etc. They were pretty cheap when I was looking to print a bunch of stuff, but I forget what I considered to be cheap at the time.
posted by Rendus at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2010

Public library? They'll charge, but probably a more reasonable rate.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2010

Do you have an affiliation with a university/college at all? You could probably use their 'document and imaging services' (whatever it's called wherever you are) - some of my classmates used that to print out their moot factums, it wasn't too expensive.

(You might be able to use such services as a non-affiliated person, I have no idea)
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:59 PM on July 28, 2010

Kinkos also runs a "File, Print FedEx Kinko's". You install the program and it adds an additional printer that is at Kinkos, so you can queue up the task directly and not bother having to use one of their PCs, so it might bring the cost down.
posted by jwells at 5:59 PM on July 28, 2010

Personal consumption. It's unreadable unless full page. One time thing.

Black and white.

No university or college affiliation.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 6:02 PM on July 28, 2010

I just ran a document through Fedex Print Online and it came out to $.20/page double sided black and white on standard white paper with a discount of about 10% added (not sure why I get that and whether that's tied to my fedex shipping discount at all). Single sided is $.10/page, so it works out the same. It may work out slightly cheaper elsewhere, but it's convenient and definitely not $.49/page.
posted by zachlipton at 6:07 PM on July 28, 2010

You can upload PDFs to Fedex Kinko's / Fedex Office online and schedule them to be printed at your local branch - you can generally pick the printed documents up the same day or pay to have them delivered. They charge $0.10 a page for single-sided black and white documents that you pickup yourself.
posted by RichardP at 6:11 PM on July 28, 2010

Argh! Should have previewed! Sorry zachlipton.
posted by RichardP at 6:12 PM on July 28, 2010

I was going to urge you to print through a shop, too. $30 may sound like more than you want to pay for this document, but that's comparable to the price of a hardback book. And I'm sure it's a lot less than you would pay in inkjet cartridges if you tried to print it at home.
posted by ErikaB at 6:20 PM on July 28, 2010

I've had to print out hundreds of pages before, and had good results with the laser printing service at Office Depot (Staples should be fine, too, or any local print shop that works with standard documents, but I haven't tried others for laser printing).

Just call a local a store (or a few), tell them you have PDFs and that you want 300 b&w pages printed on plain copy paper, and ask for the rate. It really should be less than 10 cents/page, unless prices have gone way up within the past year.

(This reminded me of a similar question from last year, albeit localized for DC. In that thread, the original asker went with Office Depot -- turned out to be 8 cents a page for "several hundred" pages.)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 6:31 PM on July 28, 2010

A used workhorse laserjet.
posted by rhizome at 7:26 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you go to FedEx Office (formerly Kinko's) and give a flash drive to an attendant and ask for the files to be printed, the per-page charge is much less than the 49 cents. Something like .03 to .05, IIRC.
posted by yclipse at 8:32 PM on July 28, 2010

You might want to try the local indie small chain version of Kinko's. They won't be much cheaper but the big chains have the advantage of people who can't think further than go to Kinko's so smaller places can be a little more competitive, and can be easier to better to deal with. Wherever you go you should just be able to hand over a flash drive and pay around 5 cents per copy, certainly no more than 10.
posted by tallus at 10:43 PM on July 28, 2010

Even if you can get it for ~$20-30 from Kinko's, I'd recommend Lulu - $8.90 for 300 pages on Publisher Grade paper plus shipping.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:02 AM on July 29, 2010

49 cents a page is just criminal. Hit up your local independent print shop and have it done there. For 300 b&w pages, we would charge a nickel a page, or $15.00. For 150 double-sided sheets (300 pages) it'd be $13.50. Heck even 300 color prints would be .19 each.

For that matter, what does your local library charge? Last I checked it was a flat .10/page here.
posted by xedrik at 10:22 AM on July 29, 2010

Lean on your friends in corporate jobs to print these kinds of things out for you while they're at work.
posted by coolgeek at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2010

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