Looking for very thin and glossy "magazine" paper
March 20, 2008 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy printer paper like that used in magazines?

I'm printing a small catalog and cannot, for the life of me, find an online store that sells magazine printer paper. I know that the large printers use rolls of paper for magazines, but I'm just looking for 8.5x11 sheets of thin, glossy paper (just as you'd find in any magazine).

I'm sure I can go to a local printer and ask them this question, but I'd prefer to just order some online if possible.

Anyone have experience with this?
posted by charlesroper to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
Search on coated paper or photo paper? What kind of printer are you using, and what resolution images?
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:03 PM on March 20, 2008

It's glossy, coated paper you're looking for... but it'll cost you a fortune since it's not usually sold in sheets.
posted by rokusan at 9:12 PM on March 20, 2008

It may not work with your printer. Most computer printers are designed to work with standard grade copier paper, and rely on the thickness, stiffness and the rough surface to work properly. Coated magazine paper may be too thin; it could rip or jam. And the ink might smear, or not stick at all.

Magazine printers don't feed individual sheets. They run a continuous paper stream through the press, and cut them up after the printing is done.
posted by Class Goat at 9:50 PM on March 20, 2008

FWIW I've ordered all sorts of that type of paper for my laser printer at Xpedx in Kansas City. It looks like they've got stores in various locations around the U.S. Ideally you would go to a store like that & get some samples of various types of paper to try out in your printer before ordering a whole bunch of it, because as some above have mentioned different types of paper and coating does interact with different printers in different ways.

I found some really nice coated papers that I liked to use with my laser printer for various purposes, though there certainly was some trial and error involved.

It looks like you can order coated paper online now from Xpedx.
posted by flug at 10:18 PM on March 20, 2008

Thanks for your replies. I have an HP Inkjet printer. I found a mostly blank page in a magazine earlier today and cut it out to test in my printer - seemed to work just fine. No jams, no smears. I printed out a 300 dpi image and it looks great.

Thanks for the recommendation of Xpedx - looks like they have a reseller in Portland so I may just have to make the drive up there unless someone can refer me to a place to buy some online. I've looked on the Xpedx website but I can't find any place to actually order through their site.
posted by charlesroper at 10:32 PM on March 20, 2008

Coated glossy paper will work just fine in most inkjets: that is what "photo paper" is. But you want it THINNER than photos, and much much bigger, which is the odd part here.
posted by rokusan at 10:36 PM on March 20, 2008

My searches for "light-weight coated paper" only lead me to trade websites in India and China. Surely, another consumer besides myself wanted this paper at some point. I just can't believe it's so hard to find (if not impossible!).

Maybe it goes by another name???
posted by charlesroper at 10:53 PM on March 20, 2008

Kiknos offers a paper called 'CT' Coated Text gloss, I'd suggest checking that out. It has a similar weight and printed on quality to magazine paper that I've used for a few jobs.
posted by huxley at 11:34 PM on March 20, 2008

HP makes a "color inkjet 24lb" paper that is $7-$10 per ream from officedepot.com or lasermonks.com. It would be somewhat heavier and less glossy than your average magazine paper though. You probably want something under 20lb and glossy if you can find it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:18 AM on March 21, 2008

More info on magazine paper, but magazine paper weight does not correspond exactly with pre-cut paper weight.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:28 AM on March 21, 2008

Coated text-weight paper is about as close as you'll get... whether or not it'll work nicely with your printer is another story all together.

The printing process for your printer versus a magazine is quite a bit different, so I wouldn't expect a perfect match.

Try the Xpedx reseller... ask for samples first... they should be able to find something that'll work well for you.
posted by bucko at 10:07 AM on March 21, 2008

Kinko's used to carry this kind of paper, especially for color copies. But I don't know if they still do.
posted by hulahulagirl at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2008

Xpedx - looks like they have a reseller in Portland so I may just have to make the drive up there

If nothing else give them a call first. They deliver all over and that might work, or they might be able to ship something to you.
posted by flug at 12:20 PM on March 21, 2008

Great - thanks for the tips! Now I at least know where to start!
posted by charlesroper at 1:12 PM on March 21, 2008

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