Online printing service recommendations
June 4, 2023 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an online service where I can get a ~50 page color PDF file printed and shipped to me within the US. This is for personal use so I don't need any special finishing, etc. Has anyone used a service like this they would recommend? I'm familiar with FedEx Office and UPS' offerings in this space, but they charge $.61 per sheet - I'm hoping to find a more economical option if it exists.
posted by jason and the garlic knots to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
PDF Plotting specializes in printing large format stuff (sewing patterns, calendars, blueprints) but will also print and ship 8.5 x 11" PDF documents. My link goes directly to that page ("Instruction Book Printing"). I double-checked a recent 56-page PDF I had close at hand and it came out to 35 cents/page in color. You'll also have to pay shipping on top of that, but I find their turnaround times are excellent and have never had any issues with print quality.
posted by sparkling at 10:08 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]

I've had good luck using Walgreens for printing PDFs, I can't find their color pricing for you though.
posted by drezdn at 10:40 AM on June 4

Do you have a college or university near you? Printing rates are usually far enough below FedEx/UPS (typically around half the price, or even less) that you could probably get a student to do it for a small bonus.
posted by the tartare yolk at 12:03 PM on June 4

Sorry for the double post! Just to add, as an example: University of Michigan charges 23 cents a page for color printing, and postage through USPS (since I missed the online-only part of the prompt) would probably be, idk, $2-3? Which, distributed over 50 pages, would be something like an extra 4-6 cents for each. It might take a little longer than an online service and is certainly less secure, but I think that (or similarly paying anyone else with access to a cheap or subsidized printing sourceā€”or a home printer) is the cheapest way to have things printed and shipped remotely.

(If your local public library offers color printing, you could even ask a neighbor to do you a favor, and skirt the whole "mail" issue entirely!)
posted by the tartare yolk at 12:13 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]

I don't think you're going to get much better of a price. I checked out Office Depot, and the cost is about $29. But if you have a Staples or Office Depot near you, you can save on shipping costs.
posted by hydra77 at 8:32 AM on June 5

Best answer: Have not used it myself, but has been recommended a few times on music production sites I visit for printing and binding PDF user manuals. From their FAQ it looks like color printing is 24.9 cents per page.
posted by alb at 4:37 PM on June 5

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