Looking for a Large Format Printer or one who can do more complex operations

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johndoe

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First my first post:

I have done my previous books through a publisher but for my current project I have found things are changing.

The book is about a monument about which there are about 20 books already on the market. Except that all the existing books are effectively the same. This is a popular subject to the overall market is large. The book I have written is totally unlike any of the previous books. Word has gotten out about the nature of the book and I have had people from all over the world writing to ask when the book is coming out.

I took the book to publishers and the responses have been:
1. There are already 20 books on the market; or
2. Can you write a book like the other 20 books on the market for us?

I am thinking about just giving them the FOTROX TANGO SIERRA and just do it myself. I have a friend who is publisher in a totally unrelated area who can give some guidance.

The problem I have is that a key feature of the book is detailed blueprints that I created as a key part of the book research. To be readable, the blueprints are 60" x 8"

(a) If I could print this on a 17-inch wide page, I could get a plan on two spreads with good overlap.

(b) Less desirable would be to use a page 10-inches wide and do it over three spreads.

(c) In the alternative, the plans could be printed separately and be attached as fold outs or in a pocket with the book having a roughly normal page size.

The blueprints are in grayscale.
The photographs (600+) are nearly all in color

Option (a) excludes apparently all on-demand printers.
Option (b) excludes a lot of of on-demand printers (including Amazon)
For Option (c), I have no idea who could even do this kind of thing.


I need to figure out which path I to take before I can hire a book designer. I was wondering if folk here might be able to suggest printers for the various options.

I went to one on-line quote for a 180pp 17-inch wide color and the quote was $70,000 for 500. I went to another and the quote was $13,000 for the same. Obviously, there is a wide range of prices. That said, $140 per book printing is not marketable. $26 per book is.
 

ChaseJxyz

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No matter what option you pick, your book is going to be really expensive. The cheapest thing might be to get the book printed normally, get the blueprints printed separately, and then you yourself fold them, stick them into an envelope/pouch, and then glue that inside the book. You could also just....have those blueprints as a PDF and host them online, and you'll have a URL + QR code someonewhere in the book for people to access. Of course, that runs the risk of deadlinks in the future, so you'll have to keep that in mind, too.

However, I'm pretty sure it IS possible to do what you want. One of the books I got via a Kickstarter is Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff and the Quest for the Missing Spoon. All the pages are color, the cover is very rainbow foil-shiny, it has fold outs, "coupon inserts," multiple page ribbons, a stretchy closing band, even a carved out area in the shape of a spoon to put a spoon in there. It is a REALLY weird book, but they were able to find a printer to do all these weird things.

My copy is actually at my desk at work lol so I can get back to you in a day or two with the publishing information if you're interested.
 

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That's a prohibitively expensive proposal. Even for a mass market printer, you're looking a many thousands of dollars, and hand finishing. I used help produce scholarly books with tipped in illustrations, fold-out maps, companion CD-ROMs. This is a high-end pricey venture, and forgive me, your market is going to be necessarily limited, and fulfillment will be costly and time consuming.

I encourage you, strongly, to instead put the blueprints on a Web site, possibly with other added extras.

Kickstarter or something similar might be a better option for you.
 

Silenia

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I echo the comments above: the blueprints are probably best put online. If you must have the blueprints in physical form no matter what, though, maybe printing them as large posters accompanying the book would be feasible? Still rather pricey, but at least not "$140 per book" pricey. Would allow you to just look towards the bulk poster printers for that part, of which there are a fair number.
 

johndoe

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I can't put this stuff on line as it would be stolen and any competitive advantage for future material would be wiped out.

I expect the book would sell between $80 and $105 where books on the same subject are priced.

If I can get the book made for $26 (or a bit more) I can make that easily.
 

Al X.

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I'm a little bit confused, because 8" x 60" is a seriously bastard blueprint size, unless you are talking about something other than architectural/engineering blueprints.

Almost nobody prints full size plan sets (22" x 34") these days. Normally half size (11" x 17") is a preferred format and that I think is doable in a standard print and maybe even POD format but I'm not sure.

In any case, if that won't work, I would opt for two volumes. One a standard print book, and the second a printed plan set which any A/E blueprint copy house can do for you in mass, but obviously someone is going to have to manually package the sets and distribute them.
 

johndoe

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8x60 is the size of the printable area of the largest views at a readable scale with a bit of margin. We're dealing with a large monument. There are about six plans that size plus a number of smaller ones, most of which will fit comfortably on US Letter. Many of the original blueprints I worked from are over 20 feet long.
 

ChaseJxyz

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So what exactly is this monument? If it's a public market in the US, wouldn't it be trivial for someone to get the plans via a FOIA request? Like how did YOU get your hands on these? I highly, HIGHLY doubt you walked around the monument and measured everything by hand and created an as-built plan.

There's nothing stopping someone from taking your big print out, scanning it, and then "stealing" it, either. It might be slightly easier to do so if you put it online, but if someone wants to steal from you, they're going to do it. That's just life.
 

johndoe

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So what exactly is this monument? If it's a public market in the US, wouldn't it be trivial for someone to get the plans via a FOIA request? Like how did YOU get your hands on these? I highly, HIGHLY doubt you walked around the monument and measured everything by hand and created an as-built plan.

There's nothing stopping someone from taking your big print out, scanning it, and then "stealing" it, either. It might be slightly easier to do so if you put it online, but if someone wants to steal from you, they're going to do it. That's just life.

I was given access to the entire structure and laser measured things. I didn't do everything that way but I was able to verify plans, make corrections to plans, and fill in gaps in the plans. I created an as is plan set.

I got the plans through detective work. They were in odd locations around the world. I scanned what I found and have collected over 2,000.

If they scan an image from a book, they've got a digital image that they probably have to past together and will look like #$#@. Those that go into the book are vector images.

I add that this is the first in a planned series of books.
 

frimble3

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I have a number of non-fiction books with over-sized inserts (maps, diagrams, etc). Please put the blueprints on a separate sheet - folded up, paper pocket or envelope at the back and it's all good. If my math skills are up to snuff - that blueprint is 5 feet long. If it's bound into the book, how can a person read it at the same time as consulting the book? Where can a person in an apartment comfortably fold it out?
But, if it detaches from the book, the reader can put it on the wall and easily access any particular part of the image. Or, fold it up so that the relevant part shows, and keep it at hand, adjusting as the reader reads.
But a 5 foot long pages is unwieldy, and easy to damage - one unfortunate fall, when the super-page is pinned down can cause significant damage to your masterwork.
A book about a monument, unless it's a cheap throwaway, should be sturdy.
 
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johndoe

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I have a number of non-fiction books with over-sized inserts (maps, diagrams, etc). Please put the blueprints on a separate sheet - folded up, paper pocket or envelope at the back and it's all good. If my math skills are up to snuff - that blueprint is 5 feet long. If it's bound into the book, how can a person read it at the same time as consulting the book? Where can a person in an apartment comfortably fold it out?
But, if it detaches from the book, the reader can put it on the wall and easily access any particular part of the image. Or, fold it up so that the relevant part shows, and keep it at hand, adjusting as the reader reads.
But a 5 foot long pages is unwieldy, and easy to damage - one unfortunate fall, when the super-page is pinned down can cause significant damage to your masterwork.
A book about a monument, unless it's a cheap throwaway, should be sturdy.
Where do you get such things printed?
 

frimble3

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Where do you get such things printed?
I don't know personally, never having attempted it, but Al. X says: "Almost nobody prints full size plan sets (22" x 34") these days. Normally half size (11" x 17") is a preferred format and that I think is doable in a standard print and maybe even POD format but I'm not sure."
So I'm assuming that a place that copies blueprints for architects and builders has the equipment. It might be a matter of cutting your blueprint in half and putting two 8" by 30" strips on one page. It might be that the printer can be adjusted to make longer prints: 8"x 60" but that would be a waste of paper.
You might also try places that print posters. It would depend on where you are and what you're near.
 

frimble3

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Another option: Vancouver is a big tourist destination - somewhere I have very long, narrow panoramic photo of the city showing all the outer edge, from one end of the downtown to the other - obviously done as a series of photos, skillfully Photoshopped together. I imagine other big cities have similar images - mine might well have been about a foot high and 5 feet long. You might check out local tourist places, or call the nearest tourist attraction and ask who prints them.
This is a link to a Canadian drug store chain that does 8x36 panorama photos, no idea about the prices, etc., but there must be something similar in other places.
 
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ChaseJxyz

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I worked for a press shop in college that had both digital and traditional presses, so I'm gonna get real technical. GENERALLY you can make longer prints as long as you have a printer that is wide enough. Think of Ye Olde printers that were a continuous sheet but had the holes to be fed through the printer (dot matrix? I am not old enough to actually know what it's called), the printer doesn't really care how LONG the page is, as long as its wide enough (and the software for both the printer and the thing doing the print job) is programmed to do it, you can make something really long.

Really Big Presses don't have sheets of paper, but rolls (like you see in receipt printers) and they're unrolled on one end, printed, and then rolled on the other (like how a VHS goes). Or it's cut at the end to whatever length you need it to be. Those really big sheets are then sent to another machine to be folded up, bound and then cut to whatever final size (magazine, paperback, fliers, postcards etc). I've even made cards that were 0.5x2 inches. So "in the real world" it's possible to make finished products that can be all sorts of sizes.

Your original post says 60 inches by 8 inches. A normal printer can at least do 8.5", so you COULD print this on your home printer if you wanted to. But it would look terrible, take forever, and cost a ton (since home printers aren't designed for big jobs). I also just looked at FedEx's site, they have 18x24 but can also do "custom sizes," so 60x8 is doable there, too. It would be way cheaper than printing it at home but it's still gonna cost a LOT, ESPECIALLY if you want this to be color. You MIGHT be able to get away with 1-2 colors, "architect printout blue" and black, so you would only need 1-2 sets of plates/pass throughs a digital press....but then you would ALSO need "architect printout blue" to be a custom-made color. And as someone who DID make those inks...they're expensive! It's only worth doing it if you need Coca Cola Red to be that EXACT color of red because your branding is That Important (and you order 200 cans of the ink).

How many of your readers are ACTUALLY going to want this "feelie"? Is it really necessary? Are they even going to be able to read it? Would it be possible that you sell a "standard" edition of your book and then a separate "deluxe" edition that has a print-out packaged along with it? Or they can buy just the print out if they so choose. I dunno how big your target audience is, but including a $40+ printed piece of paper is going to scare away a lot of potential buyers, especially if most of them aren't going to be able to read it.
 

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