Printing and binding 500 copies of a weirdly-bound book
March 24, 2015 8:26 PM   Subscribe

I want to print and distribute 500 copies of a comic-art project I've been working on, but either want to do a crazy accordion fold (40 panels, each about 5 inches wide, so a little over 8 feet long if I print on both sides) or perfectly bound with some fold-out pages inside. Does anyone know how I could get that printed and bound in two and half weeks (by April 10)? I would prefer to find a printer/binder in the Boston area, but am open to working with businesses online. Thanks!
posted by mrmanvir to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have just a tiny bit of experience in the industry, having worked as a folder operator at a fold, stitch and trim bindery for about a year, many years ago. The folders we had, which were some high-quality German models, would've been incapable of doing an accordion fold of significant length; had we gotten a job like that, it would've had to have been done by hand. You could fold it yourself if you could find someone to print on paper over eight feet long, which I suspect would be challenging enough by itself, but then 19 folds per piece * 500 pieces = 9500 folds, so...

The more conventional binding is probably easier to accomplish because you wouldn't be printing on and folding 8' paper, but you might still be looking at some hand collating to get your fold-out panels in the right locations. Perfect binding seems unnecessary for a 40-page booklet; you might consider having it stitched (stapled) like a magazine or comic.

I am far from expert on this topic, but based on the little I know, I'd characterize this project as unlikely and/or very expensive.
posted by jon1270 at 5:13 AM on March 25, 2015

Best answer: I agree with jon1270.

Your idea for the 8-foot-long accordion fold, while interesting, is not immediately doable by any common press shop or bindery. There might be an art press of some sort (somewhere) that could do it. It definitely would have to be hand-made and prohibitively expensive. Plus, it wouldn't be done within you time frame.

Your perfect-bound book with fold-out is more affordable, though still pretty expensive. The fold-out would have to be hand-inserted before binding, so there's that cost. Your press run of only 500 copies is relatively small, as well, which adds to the per-piece cost.

Your time-frame is what ultimately kills you, though. Two weeks is simply not enough lead-time to set-up, proof, correct, proof again, print and custom collate a book. Most busy commercial presses schedule project runs months in advance. Any press that says they could do it in your time-frame would almost certainly be adding an extra charge for the rush.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:36 AM on March 25, 2015

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