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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.

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Custom Printing: Adding Marketing Cards to a Magazine or Catalog

When you read a magazine or catalog, you’re thinking about content: the message it imparts, the articles, photos, and perhaps even the ads. When the publisher of the magazine looks at an issue, he or she must think about ways to pay for producing the magazine. This funding may include ads other companies have paid to insert in the magazine, but it may also include marketing items for the magazine itself. Subscription offers fall into this category, and there are several ways to add these promotional cards to a print catalog or a magazine.

Bind-in Card

The bind-in card lends itself to either a saddle stitched or perfect bound magazine. Bind-in cards are business postcards printed on a card stock of acceptable thickness to the Post Office, allowing potential subscribers to mail the cards back to the publisher without custom envelopes.

If your magazine is perfect bound, the card will be glued between magazine signatures. If your magazine is saddle stitched, the bind-in card can be stitched either in the center of the book or between signatures. In this case, half of the bind-in card will be visible within a page-spread before the center of the magazine, and half will be visible within a page-spread after the center of the magazine. (That is, the card will have two parts, either a business reply card and an unprinted tag, or two complete business reply cards, one for the front of the magazine and one for the back.)

Blow-in Card

If your magazine is either perfect bound or saddle stitched with a sufficient number of pages to keep the cards from falling out, you can blow in your business reply marketing cards. Finishing equipment at your printer blows the cards randomly between pages during the binding process. If the magazine is not thick enough for the weight of the pages to keep the blow-in cards in place, they will fall out. Unlike bind-in cards, blow-in cards cannot be precisely positioned. If you want the cards to fall between particular pages to complement advertisements, you should choose the bind-in option.


A bangtail is a hybrid. It combines a business reply envelope with an application of some sort. Usually bound into the center spread of the magazine, a bangtail is removed from the staples, and the application form is detached from the envelope prior to its completion and mailing. (You have probably seen a bangtail used in a catalog as an order form.)

Tip-on or Bind-on Cover Wrap

Occasionally you will see a subscription offer printed on an exterior cover wrap (a wrap that goes around the printed cover as though it were an additional cover). Often it is printed on an uncoated card stock.

Printing companies can attach cover wraps to saddle stitched publications using the binding staples holding the magazine together. The wraps can either extend the entire length of the front and back cover, or they can cover only a portion of the magazine. Printing companies can also attach cover wraps to the front cover only, near the bind edge, using fugitive glue (a substance similar to rubber cement).

On a perfect bound magazine, business printing vendors can add a cover wrap using fugitive glue. Since there are no staples with which to affix the cover wrap, printing companies can place a strip of fugitive glue on the front of the magazine cover near the bind edge (for attachment to the front cover only) or on the spine itself if the wrap extends across both the front and back covers.

What makes fugitive glue an ideal substance for such a wrap is its ability to be easily removed. You can peel off the cover wrap, peel the fugitive glue off the wrap, and then complete and mail the business reply card portion of the wrap—all without damaging the card.

Talk with custom printing services you trust to decide which of these options will fill your promotional needs and fit your budget. Catalog printing vendors and magazine printers will be your best sources of information.

4 Responses to “Custom Printing: Adding Marketing Cards to a Magazine or Catalog”

  1. Your article is very informative and has useful tips about business card printing and marketing.

  2. Aisha says:

    Can a thick card folded into two halves be termed a magazine, or do you need more pages to form a magazine?

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you fold a thick card in half, you have four pages. You can bind the center of this four-page signature into the center of a magazine. The difference between the thickness of the insert and the thickness of the paper used for the magazine will make the card stand out as a separate item within the magazine. I wouldn’t call the insert a magazine, per se. I’d call it a printed insert. However, if you design a cover for the four-page insert and then use the remaining three pages of the insert for text, it could resemble a magazine of sorts. Or you could make it look more like a marketing brochure, depending on your goals.


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