Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Book Printing: Fit the Job Specs to the Printer’s Equipment

If you buy a number of different kinds of printing from a number of different printing companies, you may be surprised that a vendor providing a low estimate on one job may actually submit a high bid on another. I was quite surprised recently with the large pricing spread in three book printing estimates.

My client submitted an RFQ for a 64-page booklet, with 16 pages in process color and the balance in black ink. She also requested an option to print process color throughout the book. The press run was 5,000 copies.

I selected three printing companies and called all of them to discuss the job before providing the specifications. I wanted to make sure each custom printing vendor considered the job to be within its “sweet spot,” the ideal match between vendor capabilities and client’s job specifications.

The First Printer

The first custom printing company I chose had always provided ultra-low pricing on short-run marketing materials. I therefore assumed, erroneously, that this job would also receive a low bid. I did not take into account at the time that the printer only had a 28” press.

The Second Printer

The second business printing vendor falls under the heading of general commercial printing work. They have mostly 40” presses, but they also have one 41” x 56” 6-color press. This is relevant because a 64-page book can be broken into two 32-page signatures. Larger signatures mean more pages per signature and therefore fewer passes through the press. This lowers the overall cost (less money spent on press time, plates, wash-ups, etc.).

The Third Printer

The third printer has an eight-unit, 51 3/16” perfecting offset press with roll to sheet capabilities. What this means is that this custom printing company can also produce two 32-page signatures (since the press will accept a 51” press sheet).

Compare this to the first printer, which must print much smaller signatures (fewer pages at one time) on its 28” press. Smaller signatures mean more press runs, more plates and wash ups, etc.

The third custom printing vendor can also buy paper in rolls (cheaper than sheets) since they have roll to sheet capabilities, and then cut the rolls into sheets prior to printing. This saves money.

Since the press has eight printing units and perfects the jobs, this vendor can print 4-color on both sides of the press sheet simultaneously (or 4-color on one side of the sheet and black on the other, if the client chooses that option).

So the larger press sheet will yield larger signatures (and fewer of them), and the press can print both sides of the sheet simultaneously with either of the client’s two options for color placement. In spite of the fact that the hourly rate to print on this monster press is absolutely exorbitant, the job will run so quickly and smoothly (with a savings on paper due to the roll sheeter) that their price was actually about half the price provided by the (usually) much cheaper first commercial printer with the smaller press.

Not all jobs fit all printing companies. Take the time to not only discuss the job with the printing services you identify but also to research their printing equipment. Their equipment list can usually be found on their website. It is dry reading, but well worth your time.

Interestingly enough, the third commercial printer is in Texas. The other printers are on the East Coast. The printed job will need to be delivered to the West Coast. Shipping is expensive for heavy items, and printed books weigh a lot. Upon receiving the printing bids and freight estimates, I was pleased to see that the estimated freight from the Texas printer was just over a third of the estimate provided by the other two printers.

What Can We Learn from This?

  • Keep an open mind and become a student of printing. Review printing companies’ websites and look for their equipment lists. Ask questions to help you understand the differences between presses. Learn what presses are appropriate for your different kinds of jobs, and select printing companies with appropriate equipment before distributing specs for bids.
  • Keep an open mind about the location of your printers. It costs less to ship a job from Texas to California than from Virginia to California. If you are on the East Coast, does your printer really need to be on the East Coast as well?
  • Regardless of the attractive pricing you may receive, check out your printers thoroughly. Follow up on references, request and review printed samples, and if at all possible start the working relationship with a smaller, low-profile job (don’t start with an annual report).

By the way, the second printer and third printer provided prices that were very close. However, the fact that the second printer only had a 6-unit press and could therefore not perfect the job (print four colors on both sides at once), plus the fact that the second printer did not have roll-sheeting capabilities, put the total estimate a little over a thousand dollars higher than the estimate provided by the third printer.

The third custom printing vendor’s capabilities exactly matched the job.

Comments are closed.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved