Monday, March 30, 2015

GanguStars Printed Testbooks: The Good, The Bad and The Pricey.

PLEASE! Check these pics out, and read the review if you want, but let me know your thoughts about the prints. Any input from other who buy books and magazines about collectibles will help.

Just over a week after initially getting these in, I'm still looking them all over and critiquing them. Now these are just as the title states, tests, not anything final. I had a few dollars, and had wanted to test out a few formats of a printed book concept, and actually having the money I figured I'd better pull the trigger and get something going on these long overdue and continuously postponed projects. I threw together a 48 page book and had 2 color prints made, and 2 black & white. I choose an economy grade and standard grade for each. Overall, I am pretty happy with the outcome. It was a good investment to see print tests in hand. But I still have some doubts.

I wouldn't plan and having a shipper for these. Not after seeing how the printer ships these out themselves. The 4 books were shipped in 3 boxes. The two grades must print from different locations. standard books shipped together, in a box and wrapped quite well. These came relatively protected. The economy books shipped separately, and in a simple fold up cardboard mailer. The sides of the mailer leave the contents exposed. There's no wrap protecting the books, and any rain or snowy weather could damage the books. All 4 book arrived okay, but I still think I'd have all books ship to me first for further shipping out to any buyer.

Black & White Testbook:
This is purely being done for a cost issue reason. The B&W print are about a third of the cost of color print runs. I now that B&W collector guides are really a thing of the past, likes early 90's and 80's, so about the same era most of the toys shown in these are from. It's a dated format, and in the age of the internet anything B&W is seriously outdated. But it's cheap, and for some things like manga fanslations and lineart galleries, it's really the best option. I made sure to include quite a range of content in the 48 pages, including comics and art. The comics print out great in standard format, but show some bleed issues in the economy print due to the lower quality paper used. You can see some of the same image degradation in the other pages that have toy pics and media scans. Even with a 50-100% increase in costs, the standard format for B&W seems to be the only viable option if I go the colorless print route.

Color Testbook:
Printing in color is twice as much as B&W.  And printing in standard color starts at about 130% higher than printing the same book at economy grade. That can make 2 books with very similar final outputs at very different costs. The print quality of the standard books is great, I have never had any issues with that format. Seeing this new economy grade print does kinda make me re-think whether I need to pay the extra costs of a standard print run. It's not exact, there is some image issues with the economy, but it's just not that drastic to me. Now like the B&W economy print, there is some washing out of the colors due to the lower paper grade, but it's less noticeable. Compared to the standard release it's quite evident, but on it's own it holds up. Funny note, the cover print on the economy grade is actually better than the standard book.

B&W vs. Color:
Here's a look at all 4 books for a better comparison. When you see these, it really shows that the economy B&W is just not a good option here. If anything, I feel these comparison pics only help me feel that the economy color print may be the best option based on output and costs.

Other Options:
The color, or lack there of is not my only options for this project. The size of the books is a major factor as well. The books I had test printed were all in 5x8 inch size. I can have books printed at 6x9 inches as well as 8x10. Of the 3 options, the 6x9 is actually closest to the size format I have wanted to use, which was a traditional comic book size.

The size of a comic being brought up, I actually would prefer to print as a comic book instead of a book. There's a print shop near me that specializes in doing low run comic book printing for various indie publishers. I want to make one of these testbooks in and see if there's a way they can produce a similar product in comic book format. Due to the extremely low print run I would be looking at, it may not be a cost effective format to use.

I also have to think about paper quality, and the use of matte vs. glossy coated papers. I know it's hard to make out here, but there's a bit more sharpness to the glossy page prints than the matter. I actually prefer the mate prints myself, but in some cases like toy photos, the glossy look works a little magic.

I'm sure there's a few other thoughts that have slipped away during the past week, but that's the gist of it there. Still have some things to look into, and some options to finalize before I can really get into building these books. This is the hard part, this is the real grunt work of the projects, creating the book's content is where the fun is.

GanguStars Collectors Guides toys Transformers Takara Blockman Machine Robo

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