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Jewel Case inserts and tray liners

Member for

18 years 3 months
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?

Comments

Member for

16 years 10 months

MadTiger3000 Sat, 10/28/2006 - 12:37
zemlin wrote: 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.


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.

Member for

18 years 3 months

pmolsonmus Wed, 12/13/2006 - 10:28
An update. Went with Hotcards and although their website was a little less than user friendly ( it would take the pdf of the insert but not the tray liner - they know its a problem) and...as a result turnaround and comunication weren't lightning quick. They did get the job done well.
Once we finally got the details worked out it took about 7/8 days to get inserts and scored tray liners that are professional quality.

I would use them again, but not if I had a deadline that was absolute. If you know the selections and order in advance of your CD and have that aspect of your recording together this is an ideal match. Or can live with a bit of a wait, the cost and quality are excellent.

CD is selling well. Samples avail via the district website elmbrookschools DOT org/Brookfield Central

I'm pleased with the results even though turnaround was VERY quick. We started recording on Thursday- Tuesday and students had Cds in their hands by that Friday. WHEW - I can't wait for January.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Wed, 12/20/2006 - 10:49
Phil -

For what it's worth, we do all of our own printing in house here and our finished products (if I don't mind saying so myself) look pretty damn good.

For tray liners, we either use Neat-O pre-scored liners or we use a Martin-Yale device which cuts and scores paper so we can make our own.

For the jackets, we do a minimum of a 4 page booklet. To print, we use a high-weight gloss paper (which is the same kind used in commercial release CDs) The make/model is:
MeadWestvaco - Sterling White Gloss (Text)

It ain't cheap (around $80 per box with only half what's in a standard box of paper) and it ain't light (if you're beginning to age like I am, bring a helper!)

We fold manually (we have looked into paper folders, but I most to be too inprecise).

Then, to cut, I picked up a stack cutter on E-bay. It cost me about $120 versus the same cutter in the paper store which would have cost me about $600-$800. I had to assemble it myself and tweak it so that the alignment was right, but that only took a couple hours total.

As for the printing, we use color laser printers by Oki. You can actually pick these up REALLY cheap nowadays.

I used to use a wax-based printer by Xerox (Phaser 850) which cost about $4000. The new okis though set me back around $450 each.

If you'd like, I'll gladly send you a sample of one of our disc jackets.

If you did all this yourself, you might be out $600 or so to start, but it will save you TONS in the future. (I've figured it out, it costs me less than $.20 to create each jacket. Even factoring paying myself or my wife a nominal fee to do the "setup")

J.

Member for

17 years 3 months

JoeH Tue, 10/24/2006 - 18:41
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. 8-)

Member for

18 years 3 months

pmolsonmus Wed, 10/25/2006 - 06:27
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

Member for

19 years 9 months

Thomas W. Bethel Thu, 12/21/2006 - 04:55
We too use the OKI printer and we too had a Xerox 3200 wax printer which was nothing but a BIG HEADACHE and very costly to maintain and use. The service contract was really expensive but having their tech comeout on a one shot tech support call was even more so. The OKI really does a very nice job and I think it even looks better than the XEROX for consistant output. The Xerox was going though a lot of ink sticks in "idle" mode and we threw out a lot of melted crayon mess that was very expensive. At one point we had a clogged print head and the tech went though 4 ink sticks in about a 1/2 hour trying to clean the print head. ($99.00 for 4 print sticks) We finally donated the machine and the remaining inksticks to a local arts organization as a parts machine. It was not a very cost effective machine to own or to use. We could have actually purchased a new one for less than the cost of the print head for our old one. The OKI works great and so far all the clients love the output. We do our own in house cutting and folding and on CD printing and we have a heat tunnel and sealer for the CDs. We did NOT want to become a printing and packaging operation but we could not find anyone locally who could consistantly produce good looking and sounding CDs in small runs without charging us an arm and a leg so we were kind of forced into it.

Member for

18 years 3 months

pmolsonmus Thu, 12/21/2006 - 05:51
Hi,

Thanks for the info. The total bill from HotCards for 2000 booklets and trayliners was just over $300 bucks plus shipping. It was about the same for just paper and prescored liners when I looked into it. They print, cut, fold and score for that price. Which means I don't have to do it or oversee quality control.

As producer, engineer, mixer, master(er?), music director, baby-sitter, crowd control, piano player, chief cook and bottle washer - if I don't need to oversee the paper end of this thing as well, I'm happy. And oh yeah, it's Christmas and we've got about a-gazillion concerts and other activities going on.

We're at about 1000 Cds sold already. Mechanical royalties cost about $900, Cds, Jewel Cases and paper approx another $1,000. That means almost 8k in profits. Any wonder why we don't sell pizzas?

Phil

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Thu, 12/21/2006 - 06:34
pmolsonmus wrote: Hi,

Thanks for the info. The total bill from HotCards for 2000 booklets and trayliners was just over $300 bucks plus shipping. It was about the same for just paper and prescored liners when I looked into it. They print, cut, fold and score for that price. Which means I don't have to do it or oversee quality control.

As producer, engineer, mixer, master(er?), music director, baby-sitter, crowd control, piano player, chief cook and bottle washer - if I don't need to oversee the paper end of this thing as well, I'm happy. And oh yeah, it's Christmas and we've got about a-gazillion concerts and other activities going on.

We're at about 1000 Cds sold already. Mechanical royalties cost about $900, Cds, Jewel Cases and paper approx another $1,000. That means almost 8k in profits. Any wonder why we don't sell pizzas?

Phil

That's awesome Phil!!! Congratulations!

I'm glad to see someone out there taking care of the mechanical licenses! (I'm sure most of our acoustic recording bretheren out here in RO land do as well!) Some of my competition here in the area have never heard of such things!

Granted, when I only sell 40 of a disc, it's difficult to obtain a license, but the word is "difficult" not impossible! (Actually, I have one publisher to whom I submitted a request in 1999 for 32 discs. The discs have long since been sold and likely are never ever played - it was for a Jr. High Band concert in Timbuktu! - but still - I've yet to hear back from them. My usual turn around on licenses from publishers directly is pretty long - 3-4 months! I wish Harry Fox would license smaller quantities!)

Anyway -

Tom -

I totally feel your heartache re: the Xerox! When we first got the printer, we would turn it on and off when needed. BIG mistake. We wasted so much ink! Then, after our 3 year service contract expired, it seemed like we had a tech out at least once a month! Minimum call- $100! Then, like you said, we were constantly throwing out ink that the printer would waste.

Everyone LOVED the raised text/graphics feel and appearance of the Xerox, but it was definitely not worth the headache.

The Okis have been trouble free and consistent. I wouldn't trade them for the world!

J.

Member for

17 years 3 months

JoeH Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:41
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.

Member for

18 years 3 months

pmolsonmus Wed, 10/25/2006 - 12:36
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

Member for

18 years 3 months

pmolsonmus Mon, 10/30/2006 - 05:49
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

Member for

19 years 9 months

Thomas W. Bethel Thu, 10/26/2006 - 05:22
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 )

Member for

17 years 3 months

JoeH Thu, 10/26/2006 - 12:58
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. 8-)

Member for

19 years 9 months

Thomas W. Bethel Fri, 10/27/2006 - 05:09
JoeH wrote: 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. 8-)

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.
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