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Staples Online Printing & Web Binding

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companycmd writes:

My research has shown you are much better off using the Amazon Author service. The quality is far better and more reasonably priced than the retail establishments. In order to survive, those outlets have higher prices though when you can find the store they are convenient. However, when you use the Amazon service, you are actually an author and have the choice to get your production out there to the public; Staples, Officemax/depot etc have no such offering though to survive, they had better do so pretty quick.

Revision Log
5 July 2007page first published

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As an update to our previous article on Printing & Binding from PDF, I decided to try Staples new online printing service.

I'll admit that I was pretty skeptical, as a previous attempt with Kinkos online printing service had been a flop. (Their special software failed to work on my computer.)

The Staples online printing center webpage

Fortunately, this experience was more pleasant. I didn't have to download any software - just make selections on a webpage, then click a button to upload my PDF file.

The particular rulebook I selected has a lot of highlighted text in blue, so I decided to splurge and get color throughout. I also opted for double-sided pages, a clear cover, a black back-cover, and plastic coil binding.

The service then gave me the option of paying for a rush order, or taking regular service... but didn't seem clear on exactly when my order would be ready. (I got the impression that it would be the next day.)

I was also given the price for my order: $33.37 USD. (Expensive, those 62 color pages...)

I was surprised when I received an email later that afternoon, saying that my order was ready. That was fast.

Printed rulebook

The final cost was slightly less than the online estimate:

$30.38 USD - color copies
$1.00 USD - other finishing
$31.38 USD total

(I didn't notice until I got home that they messed up on one thing - they printed the pages single-sided instead of double-sided...)

Printed page

As you can see, the printed version faithfully captures the black-and-blue text of the original - and the quality is better than anything my home printer can accomplish, particularly with color pictures. However, I could have ordered a printed copy of the rulebook, including shipping, for only £13.10 GBP!

Web Binding

While I was picking up my book, I had the copy center also bind a rulebook that I'd printed out at home. The beautiful blonde in the blue copy-center uniform was enthusiastic about their new, "more professional looking" web binding - so I gave it a stab. The binding automatically comes with its own clear cover and black back-cover.

Webbound rulebook

The web-binding process is much faster than the coil and wire binding process, which may be why the clerk was so enthusiastic. grin

The binding

The cost worked out to be:

$2.49 USD ¼" cvrbind clas
$1.99 USD web-binding
$4.48 USD total
Won't lie flat

It's a nice binding, but the price is high compared to the alternatives, and I prefer my books to be able to lie flat... so I'll pass on the web-binding next time.