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Print isn’t going anywhere. In certain markets and niches, print is indeed thriving. People still value the sensory experience of unfolding the pages of a glossy magazine, but producing and distributing a print publication is expensive. Here are some ways you can keep your print expenses from overwhelming your operating budget.

magazine expense

Cutting expenses

Publishers are looking at ways to cut back on printing and delivery costs. Some are cutting back on paper grade, while trying not to impact the quality of the magazine. Others are cutting back on the number of issues and aligning them around seasons, holidays, or events.

Readership is another area where publishers can cut costs — or ask avid readers to pay more. Use big data to finely target your audience. Advertisers value a highly targeted audience and will pay more for ad space. By focusing your publication on a finely targeted niche, you can charge more, and subscribers are loyal and will pay for the value.

Streamlining operations

The days of endless back and forth between writer, editor, designer, and printer are over — or at least that should be what publishing companies are striving for. It’s time-consuming, labor-intensive, expensive, and prone to errors. Keeping production costs of your print publication in check requires careful examination of your content production, proofing, and printing operations to determine any bottlenecks and discover areas to improve.

There needs to be constant communication among editorial, design, and printing teams so they can work together seamlessly and efficiently.

Use a content management system to manage all aspects of creating, editing, layout and design, printing, and delivery. A platform such as Sheridan’s InSite web portal allows publishers to upload their content from anywhere, share and collaborate with other reviewers, and monitor the content from submission to preflight, review, and approval.

magazine delivery

Delivery

Getting your magazine into the hands of subscribers is another big expense publishers must deal with. When trying to reduce costs, publishers need to consider everything from maintaining subscriber lists to postage and handling to shipping.

Postage and shipping costs are often the most expensive part of publishing a magazine, and with postal rates always on the rise, it’s one of the first areas publishers should look at to cut costs. There are three ways to distribute your magazine to readers: origin entry, drop-shipping, and co-mailing.

  1. Origin entry is where the printer delivers the magazines to the nearest post office, which handles the rest of the delivery to the subscribers. This distribution method is the most expensive.
  2. With the drop-shipping method, the printer delivers the magazines to a facility that sorts and trucks them to a regional USPS plant close to where most of your subscribers are located. Because the printing company does a portion of the work, you get a discount on the mailing cost.
  3. Co-mailing is where multiple magazine titles going to similar locations are combined into one mail stream, prior to joining the USPS postal mail stream. All publishers share the expenses associated with the sorting and mailing.

Another way publishers can save on delivery costs is through print-on-demand (POD). You can cut back your print run, then when you get additional orders, you can print and ship them immediately. You also save on storage fees because you only print the quantity that has been ordered.

When publishers look at improving profits, they tend to focus on new technologies and methods to drive revenue. However, significant cost savings can be had simply by finding ways to reduce expenses, such as those discussed above. It’s important to continually search for ways to cut back. If you need help finding ways to minimize costs, the knowledgeable professionals at Sheridan can help you implement solutions, from workflow automation to co-mailing, and more.

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