In choosing a printer, you will need to consider the quality of printing and whether printing deadlines will be met. You can find out about these by having a look at samples of materials produced by the printer, and contacting referees. Once a decision is made, it is important to monitor the printer's performance. The cost of printing depends on the number of copies needed (becoming cheaper per issue if greater numbers are printed), the quality of the paper and whether colour is used. Colour is not always much more expensive, depending on the type of printing machine used (e.g. la revue Prescrire was offered four colours for the same price as two colours because, for the large number of copies needed - tens of thousands - the printer had no more machines available for printing two colours, and did not want to lose the bulletin's business).
A printing schedule has to be agreed. The printer may need the bulletin files in a particular format. It may be possible to pass the desktop publishing files directly to the printer or it might be necessary to convert files into films using an image-processing house. Where an interim form is used, it is essential to check the result before taking it to the printing press. It is also necessary to know if the printer is able to deliver to the dispatch house in time for enclosing and posting out the bulletin.
Case study: Sri Lanka Prescriber
During the past two years we have had problems with printing. To cut down on printing costs the bulletin’s publisher decided to call for tenders when selecting printers. However, such tender procedures caused delays in printing. After several discussions, the publisher agreed to use a competent printer recommended by the editorial board.
Contributed by Gita Fernando, Sri Lanka Prescriber.