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Jewel Case inserts and tray liners

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by pmolsonmus, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Hi,

    At the high school I teach in, we produce a holiday Cd and in addition to duplication of the Cds, we do all the printing in house on a risograph (one color at a time low res printer) Because of this we've been very limited in the cover art we are able to produce.
    Because this is a huge fundraiser I don't want to have to go through a printer and pay $1 or more per unit on paper for our Cds. I was wondering if anyone knows of a company that handles stock Christmas images that we could print the specifics of the CD on top of??

    These could either be pre cut to Cd size or 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17.

    I did some searches and could only find blank templates or the "we'll make your design for you" types that are $1 or more each. For that price I could print my own, but we're looking at close to 2,000 units this year. I can buy 11 x 17 paper for $40.

    Any help out in RO land?
     
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I don't know of anyone specifically who offers that, Phil, I'm in almost the same boat in most cases.

    You probably already know this, but if you invest a little now, however, you might be able to get better results with a little up-front investment.

    I might suggest our own "Safety in numbers" approach.....many hands make light work. Do you have any student volunteers to help out with paper cutting and jewel-case stuffing? It's a bit tedious, but a half a dozen workers working one or two evenings together in an organized way could do wonders if you sold the idea to them properly. (Pizza party, anyone??) My helper (who's very experienced in cutting and folding the paper) can crank out 100 in an evening, if the printing is done and the materials ready to process.

    Still, that's a fairly daunting number - 2000. Our break-point is usually 500 copies - anything higher than that then we bag it and go to Discmakers instead. For anything below 500, we're set up to do it here fairly painlessly. Our templates (in MS Publisher) are all in the computer, ready to go.

    For paper, I advance-order heavy stock 8x11 paper right from Office Depot these days; 150 sheets of Heavy white Matte paper per box, or the printable Glossy paper. It's great stuff, with free delivery. I get the blanks and unassembled jewel cases from Discmakers, also in bulk, and we're good to go, assuming everything else is in place.

    Our cost for all the raw materials - discs, paper, inks, cases & wrappers works out to about $1 per disc. (That's not counting labor to feed the printers, cut the paper, stuff the jewel cases and shrink wrap it all, probably another $1 per disc.)

    For printing, I've found the Epson R220 and R320's to be ridiculously good for the cost ($99 for the 220 - insane to think you can buy the printer cheaper than a retail set of replacement carts at list price). BUT you can get all the ink carts dirt cheap from "Shop4tech.com" for about $4.99 each if you buy in bulk. (and we do, we do....)

    If you only had to pay for materials - no labor - your cost would be about $2k in materials total. (That's estimating high - you may not need so much ink if the graphics are spartan, on white paper, etc.)

    If you had a projected sale of 2000 CDs at $15 each, you could more than justify the upfront cost of a couple of Epson 220/320's, inks, papers, blanks and shrink wrap to pull a nice profit of about $28k after your initial outlay of $2k for the raw materials.

    Again, you probably already know this, but it's worth passing on, if there's enough interest in it. One of our clients is a big Catholic Church in the 'burbs with FOUR THOUSAND registered families. (That's FAMILIES, not members!) They do a Christmas CD every other year for fundraising, and with mandatory Sunday Mass attendance, they have a captive audience to show their CDs to at the end of services on the way out. :cool:
     
  3. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Hi,

    We're already doing much of what you talk about, but we have a paper folder- one of the best investments we've ever made. We use it for programs and the Cd stuff. Cranks out about 2 per second after you set it up.

    We also have an old industrial paper cutter (looks like something that Steven King created!!!) and we have LOTS of students (aka free labor)

    We try to sell at $10 and pay out $1 for cds and print and $1 for mechanicals. So I'm trying to keep costs down, because at $10 almost no one says no- and we will sell 1500-2000 units. We tried a few years ago to bump it to $15 but sales dropped significantly.

    I'll keep up the hunt and let you know if anything else shows up

    Phil
     
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Sounds great, Phil.

    I agree about the pricing. $10 will sell a lot more a lot quicker than $15.

    That's why I was always barking about $5 per CD. IMHO, it SHOULD have been tried by the industry a long time ago - back when it could have made a difference to save their sorry butts before downloading took 'em out. Imagine how many they would have moved for $5 eaach, four for a $20 at yer local music shop.

    If the little guys like us can find ways to produce a couple thousand and still manage to make a buck or two on such a narrow margin of profit, how do you think they handled the production costs of a couple of million copies, done in factories, "back in the day"?

    But I digress. :roll: Glad you have an industrial cutter and lots of helpers. That's always the key! Lots of cheap labor, or automation to get ya through. Best of luck with it, hope it makes some $$ for them.
     
  5. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    I had an idea that hasn't panned out yet, but I'm looking into it.

    What about blank Christmas Cards? If the image was workable and in the right spot we could cut to fit and print on the inside? I haven't found any yet that are cheaper than printing on our own, but I'll keep looking and let you know.
    Any enterprising print people out there. I think there might be a market for this.

    Phil
     
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I think that for short runs you could go to Staples and for 39 cents each they would do color copies for you. If you want they will do them on card stock but with a small increase in price. There are tons of free ware Christmas graphics on the web and I am sure someone has a computer that they could take a template (also available on the web for free) and make up a very nice looking CD case liner. (most Staples stores can work from a computer disk but make sure you now what programs they support before making up your graphics)

    There are also companies like Polyline that have the CD inserts already made up so all you have to do is have them printed and they are pre perforated so all you have to do is tear them apart and stuff them. They also have the templates for all popular software. Doing it this way means no cutting and does speed up the process. There are lots of other time saving ways to do things like order your Jewel cases as separate inserts and separate cases so all you have to do is put in the graphic card and put them together.

    $2.00 per CD is about what it really costs to put them out including labor and materials. If you do 500 CDs it would cost you $1000 to produce them and if you sold them for $12.00 each you would have a profit of $5,000 which is not bad. (this would not include the cost of the mechanical rights if you are doing copyrighted songs see information at The Harry Fox agency
    http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp )
     
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Tom; I've never been able to make the pre-cut paper costs work. I don't know about Polyline's costs, but those over the counter/retail Neato-products, specifically, were always a bad deal, way too much cost per sheet to make it workable. Is there another way to go with this? I'd love to know if there is.

    Otherwise, I just get good, bright white matte paper, print with cutting guides at the edges. As tedious as it seems to others who haven't priced this stuff, it's still a better way to go than pricey pre-cut paper.

    Having Kinko's or Staples print the covers seems like a good idea if you can get good results at that cost. The tolerances for the tray cards were always an issue for me, as well. So many times we'd need a little tweak here, a font change there, it was just easier to do it in house than wrangle with a printer or typesetter.

    Perhaps things are changing for the better nowadays, I remember when it was a hassle just to get a printer to accept a scanned image as a JPG file - instead of getting a blank stare. Maybe Phil can be a new trailblazer for this. :cool:
     
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    We use Microsoft Publisher for the covers and we don't seem to have any real problems. We always bleed a bit over the edges of the perfs so there are no white lines. I guess it depends on how good you are with a paper cutter. We use a BiDex trimmer (http://www.shoplet.com/office/db/g23630.html) on a light table and it seems to work well but the pre perfed sheets come in handy when you need a short run. They are more expensive but are faster when you only have a few CDs to do.

    Kinko's has ruined more projects for us than I can tell you. Their work force is so variable and unless you get someone with some experience the results can be VERY VERY bad. They did a brochure a couple of years ago and they ruined the whole run. Printing problems, problem with the software, cutting problems and folding problems and we had to come back three times to get the job done correctly )(40 mile round trip each time). We had special paper, which they pre approved, and they had to repurchase the paper again to do the job. I mean how much knowledge does it take to get the paper lined up before you cut it (1/4" off on a diagonal 500 sheets) or to fold a three fold brochure consistently or to know the difference between Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word when it was clearly stated EXACTLY what was on the CD even down to the version number. Time for a chill - I get upset even thinking of what they put us though.

    Anyway check out the Polyline stuff for short runs.
     
  9. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Kinko's has ruined more projects for us than I can tell you. Their work force is so variable and unless you get someone with some experience the results can be VERY VERY bad. They did a brochure a couple of years ago and they ruined the whole run. Printing problems, problem with the software, cutting problems and folding problems and we had to come back three times to get the job done correctly )(40 mile round trip each time). We had special paper, which they pre approved, and they had to repurchase the paper again to do the job. I mean how much knowledge does it take to get the paper lined up before you cut it (1/4" off on a diagonal 500 sheets) or to fold a three fold brochure consistently or to know the difference between Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word when it was clearly stated EXACTLY what was on the CD even down to the version number. Time for a chill - I get upset even thinking of what they put us though

    I almost forgot, Tom...you are the Patron Saint of horror stories; sorry to get you riled up, but it's better to let it out than to keep it bottled up, eh?

    I hear you about Kinko's and their ilk. You just never know, from store to store, (or day to day) what you're going to get.

    I totally swear by MS Publisher, have had it since the nineties and upgrade whenever there's a new version. (Havene't seen an upgrade since 2003 now that I think of it.....hmmmm....) All of our templates are done with that; I was able to stop reinventing the wheel every time out quite a while ago now, by using that application. (did you know there's a photo cropping tool built into it as well? Just found THAT trick out about six months ago. D'oh! We were ALWAYS using Photoshop to trim the edges if there was a problem, then going back to MS Pub.)

    ANyways, I'll check out the pre-cut stuff, but I'm not getting my hopes up; just like the printing & cutting quality at Kinko's, there's always something to be said for DIY. If you want something done RIGHT.....
     
  10. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I use publisher as well. I print (inkjet) on HP Brochure paper - nice, glossy, coated on both sides, not horribly expensive - $30 for 150 sheets. I cut everything 1 sheet at a time and have ho-made fixtures for folding and stapling. Tray cards with spines are a pain to fold, but I have a setup that works well.

    I've never found precut stock that can match the print quality and cost of CIY jobs.
     
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Ran in to this while I was looking for stickers. I bought postcards from Hotcards a few years back - they were fine. I'd buy from them again.

    http://www.hotcards.com/cd-insert-tray-card-package - It doesn't look like the tray cards have spines, but at that price ... sheez!

    If you want single-fold liner notes, it looks like they could do a custom card at 4.75x9.5 pre-scored - full color print both sides - also very affordable.
     
  12. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member


    HotCards is located in my area, actually.

    They are the cheapest full color place on the Internet. I put them on the vendor list for work.
     
  13. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Thanks all,

    HotCards looks like the solution. I have no problem with set-up and design. I've been doing that all along. If they can do a turnaround in 5 days or so, I'm sold.
    I've used Publisher, Pagemaker, PrintShop, PhotoShop, and InDesign even though I'm a hack at all of them.
    For that price I can barely do it myself with lesser quality in paper and no real graphics. I'll keep you in the loop on how this progresses.

    Phil
     
  14. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    I did a quick search on google for " printing CD covers"


    here's an interesting site


    https://www.printingforless.com/cdcovers.html


    based on 2000 coveres ( 4 color) looks like your price is 600 and change
    which is 32 cents a pcs, get the kids to stuff thgem, and voila!!!

    hope this helps out

    SI
     
  15. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    sorry
    i didnt see that the hotcards were cheaper

    didnt check if its 4 color work as apposed to 4 seperate color quote tho


    SI
     
  16. FludCavion

    FludCavion Guest

    I may be able to help

    Ok I actually work for a printing company and would like to help but i'm having a hard time understand what you need. Are you saying that you want blank cards stock printing paper(cover size), are you wanted a design, or something else?

    -Flud
     
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

  18. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Hi Flud (and others)

    Quality that any printer could provide will be a considerable step up from what we're doing now. The design has been text over a colored striped background to look(sort of) like a Christmas present. 2 runs, 1 color 1 black text with lots of bounce on the risograph on the run so it had to be kept simple.

    What I'm looking for is a 4 page color cover on decent paper- card stock or a nice finish(picture of Santa Claus or something like it) the title of the Cd and the group's name.

    On the inside would be black and white list of students and a few program notes. On the 4th page would be song selections.

    On the tray liner would be group and title written vertically on the spines and the song titles again on the back.

    Nothing fancy, We would do all layout and design. ( a mock-up is done already) It could be run on 11x17 or 2, 8.5 x 11 runs or whatever. Master could be in Pagemaker, Word, Indesign, Photoshop, Printshop or whatever else works easiest. We could do the cutting, but scoring and cutting to exact CD measurements would save hassle on our end. Especially the scoring of the spines. That's the real pain, and our folder doesn't score or fold that small.

    We also offer personalized Cds as a fundraiser so we could either run those ourselves completely or have you leave several hundred with the 4th page blank that we could then run the personal or business messages that people wanted.

    I'm going to need to make a decision in the next few days to get the job done. Discmakers will do print and printed Cds with shrinkwrap and a bar code for about 2.5k. We have a 8 unit Cd duplicator and have been using stickers and free labor (aka students)

    Hotcards looks like a great price (without spines) for about $400. Most others are in the $600 price range for 2000 units.

    PM me if you've got more questions or can give a quote.

    Phil
     
  19. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    BTW Tom,

    I teach in Brookfield WI. Many of the head honchos at Hal Leonard live in the community or within a few miles of here, in fact headquarters is right up the road. I work with a lot of the writers, arrangers and execs professionally as well gigging and recording. I'm not gonna skip the mechanical royalties! But its always good to point out for others reading this thread.

    Phil
     
  20. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Another option - PSPRINT

    You can get liner notes from 2-sided cards to 16 page booklets, and the tray cards have spines (scored). I like spines on the tray cards - I think it makes the difference between the "ho-made" look and first class.
     

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