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Old 04-27-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
Oggsmash
 
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Default Printing Pdfs

I am a bit of a slow coach regarding tech/availability of printing options so if you guys could bear with me I have a question regarding PDFs. I would love to buy some but the thought of changing printer cartridges multiple times printing them makes me cringe. Do places like Staples/Kinkos have reasonable prices to print something like a PDF (I assume you could take it in to them on a disc, but like I said, I am pretty last century when it comes to some tech stuff) and say slap a plastic cover on it?
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

You might want to look into a laser printer if you'll be printing a lot. They're fairly cheap these days (though generally more expensive than ink jet) and will pay for themselves in the money you'll be saving on not buying ink that costs more per ounce than fine wine. (Seriously, look it up, inkjet cartridges often have only a few miligrams of ink and cost $40+.) If you find the right laser printer you'll be talking about a penny a page in toner and you'll probably spend more on the paper itself.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

The last time I checked, Staples was reasonable and had several printing options; anything I wanted from lamination to slick paper to off sizes to cardboard, etc., etc., etc. I made a board game and had them print the 20"x20" board. They did a good job.

Just call them and ask.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

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Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
The last time I checked, Staples was reasonable and had several printing options; anything I wanted from lamination to slick paper to off sizes to cardboard, etc., etc., etc. I made a board game and had them print the 20"x20" board. They did a good job.

Just call them and ask.
Thanks, I am guessing printing a PDf from disc is routine for them.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

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Originally Posted by Oggsmash View Post
Thanks, I am guessing printing a PDf from disc is routine for them.
though nowadays it more USB flash/thumb drives than disk.

However the real issue is Some of there staff are a bit gun-shy over copyright issues, and you might need to bring an allready printed copy of SJ Games statment about permission to print.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

A B&W printing at Kinko's/FedEx Office is US$0.10 per page from a PDF on a USB flash drive. Color printings cost more; I think something like US$0.35 per page. A lot of the ones locally all you need to do is insert the credit/debit card into the reader, plug your USB drive into the port, scroll through the menus on the screen, and it'll print out in 8.5"x11". That's on their self-serve printers; printing from their computers costs more.

They also do bindings there, but I'm not sure what they charge. I wouldn't do any fancy bindings unless it was 50 or more pages, though. Most of the time, I just buy the clear plastic sleeves that you just slide the paper into, and put them in a 3-ring binder. (I've got all four Power-Ups and Psionic Powers in one binder, and Spaceships 1 and 2 in another (for starters).) Now, for my 250+ page Marvel Reboot Project master document, yeah, I'd have them do front-and-back printings with a binding.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

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Originally Posted by ciaran_skye View Post
You might want to look into a laser printer if you'll be printing a lot. [...] If you find the right laser printer you'll be talking about a penny a page in toner and you'll probably spend more on the paper itself.
I'm sure you know that the cost of printing still depends on the page to be printed. What I was surprised to see was how much dark stuff there actually is in some of the Gurps PDFs which I thought of as "just text pages".

For reliable data, I converted some PDFs to b&w pictures and counted the amount of black in there. About 10% black* seems to be typical, so expect to use about "2 pages of toner" for each page of gurps stuff.

As an example, original toner for my little laser printer (Brother) costs about 2.5 eurocents / average page, so about 5 ct / gurps page. 3rd-party toner costs about half of that, I guess, but I haven't tried those yet. This price range doesn't seem to be that atypical for consumer laser printers, either. Add a bit less than 1 ct for each sheet of paper, and 5 ct / gurps page is definitely breached. (My copy shop charges about 6-7 ct / page, which would give me duplex, which is nice. But they have an additional fee for handling the PDF file so it's definitely not worth for me.)

The biggest realization, though, came when I printed the 250 pages of Gurps Magic and calculated the costs of that (including my failed attempts at manual duplex printing, which cost me about 40 more pages) ... A brandnew softcover would have been a bit more expensive, but not by much.

Keep this in mind when comparing prices. For short PDFs (like the DF series), driving to a print center is probably not worth the gas. For longer books or printing multiple books at once, it might break even because the price per page also drops at these stores when you print a couple of hundred pages at once.

Regards
Ts

* The amount of black in grey areas was not gamma-corrected and I'm not sure which way this would change the results and by how much.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ts_ View Post
I'm sure you know that the cost of printing still depends on the page to be printed. What I was surprised to see was how much dark stuff there actually is in some of the Gurps PDFs which I thought of as "just text pages".

For reliable data, I converted some PDFs to b&w pictures and counted the amount of black in there. About 10% black* seems to be typical, so expect to use about "2 pages of toner" for each page of gurps stuff.

As an example, original toner for my little laser printer (Brother) costs about 2.5 eurocents / average page, so about 5 ct / gurps page. 3rd-party toner costs about half of that, I guess, but I haven't tried those yet. This price range doesn't seem to be that atypical for consumer laser printers, either. Add a bit less than 1 ct for each sheet of paper, and 5 ct / gurps page is definitely breached. (My copy shop charges about 6-7 ct / page, which would give me duplex, which is nice. But they have an additional fee for handling the PDF file so it's definitely not worth for me.)

The biggest realization, though, came when I printed the 250 pages of Gurps Magic and calculated the costs of that (including my failed attempts at manual duplex printing, which cost me about 40 more pages) ... A brandnew softcover would have been a bit more expensive, but not by much.

Keep this in mind when comparing prices. For short PDFs (like the DF series), driving to a print center is probably not worth the gas. For longer books or printing multiple books at once, it might break even because the price per page also drops at these stores when you print a couple of hundred pages at once.

Regards
Ts

* The amount of black in grey areas was not gamma-corrected and I'm not sure which way this would change the results and by how much.
I was going off of my Brother HL-1440, which is an older printer but gets around 6,000 pagers per toner cartridge which run about $40 third-party last time I bought one. Newer printers are much more anemic about the number of pages they get (2,000 pages is much more common, for the same price) so to get anywhere close to my figures it takes shopping around for a good printer.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

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Originally Posted by ciaran_skye View Post
Newer printers are much more anemic about the number of pages they get (2,000 pages is much more common, for the same price) so to get anywhere close to my figures it takes shopping around for a good printer.
True, true ... Many consumer laser printers nowadays have the same business model as consumer ink jets: Cheap buy-in, expensive ongoing cost. It's even worse with cheap color laser printers, that sometimes have per page costs higher than the better ink jets out there.

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Old 04-28-2012, 12:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Printing Pdfs

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True, true ... Many consumer laser printers nowadays have the same business model as consumer ink jets: Cheap buy-in, expensive ongoing cost.
Saving the money for a small-business type one can be well worthwhile. My Laserjet 5MP has lasted 17 years so far. I bought a replacement that attaches to wireless, and prints double-sided, but the old Laserjet still refuses to die.
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