Many colleges are looking at saving money by reducing the number of books they print. While that strategy can work in the short term, in print runs below a certain quantity, the unit cost is prohibitive. To find savings at print runs under 10,000, focus on the cost per book, not the cost of the overall run. The unit cost is ultimately what drives overall costs and can be figured into the cost of an enrollment. In order to find savings there, we offer the following suggestions:
1. Reduce the number of pages in your book.
If it's been a while since you've taken a critical look at what's in your catalog, it may be that you have "information creep." That's when, over the course of time, content creeps in from various sources that may not be required in your catalog. Catalogs are expensive to bind and ship, and you'll want to include only the information that is appropriate to this publication. The single best way to reduce cost is to reduce page count.
Start by checking with your accrediting associations to see what you absolutely must have in your catalog. For instance, course sequences by semester for each degree program consume many, many pages, but may not be necessary. This is a good example of information that not only can be published in another format, but may be even more useful somewhere else. For instance, course sequences can be supplied to faculty advisors as standalone sheets.
Using a tool such as the SmartCatalog System allows you to re-purpose information from catalogs to other, smaller, targeted publications such as faculty advisor packets, guidance counselor publications and student bulletins.
2. Use a different page size.
Some printers offer significant discounts for page sizes that are just a little different from the norm. Trimming 1/16th of an inch off a 6 x 9 book can render real savings.
3. Consider a lighter paper.
It used to be that anything under 50 lb. stock was too transparent to use with a heavy saturation of text. However, the new lighter papers offer a higher opacity in bright shades of white. Even newsprint has been improved. If it's been a while since you've looked at your paper choices, look again. Your printer can supply you with samples and even "dummy" books to weigh for postage.
4. Look at alternate printers.
While it's important to reward local print vendors with your business, book printing is a very specific technology. If your catalog printer is the same group that does the President's Holiday Card, it's time to keep shopping. Shipping costs less than you may imagine. When you're shopping, "cold web" presses are what you're looking for. The myth that big presses only are competitive at large print runs is not true. Every press has their "sweet spot," the page size, count and quantity are where they are very aggressive. You may even find that the price you're getting right now is the best one available.
Yes, this is heresy. Your chief academic officer may need to be revived when you mention it, but sponsorships in catalogs are the trend of the future. A tasteful message from a trusted business partner can be a very effective way to reduce cost without detracting from the serious nature of the publication or diminishing the value message of the institution.
Imagine a message from your bookstore advising students and parents of a buy-back program or online textbook ordering. Is that inconsistent with supporting a student's goals? No. Does that have a value for the bookstore? You bet.
Your catalog is gold to your corporate partners. It reaches every single faculty member and student, plus guidance counselors and staff. SmartCatalog has established relationships with sponsoring corporations that deliver the benefits of sponsorship messages without making you do the legwork or compromising the institution's nonprofit status.
For more information (and the smelling salts) call 1 800 770-8425.