Online publishing

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Why is printing a magazine so expensive?

Why is printing a magazine so expensive?

A lot of our clients come to us for online magazines because they feel printed magazines cost too much. That got us thinking, are they really that expensive and if so, why? Let’s see if we can break it down.

Publishing a print magazine became quite expensive.

Publishing a print magazine became quite expensive.


The biggest cost of a magazine is the paper it’s printed on. The cost of paper went up a lot in recent years. Just recently we’ve witnessed another increase up to 15% for graphic papers. The paper prices are going up because of increased production cost, particularly pulp, energy, transport costs and chemicals.

Variables are the weight, grade and stock of the paper your magazine will be printed on. The paper grade goes from one (being the whitest) to five (being a lower quality paper, usually more yellowish). The paper stock will range from

Trim size

Bigger isn’t always better. If you go from a 15 x 15 sized magazine to a 30 x 30 size it doesn’t  double the size, it actually quadruples it, using 4x more paper. What people also tend to forget is the fact that magazines are not printed on sheets of paper the size of the magazine, they’re actually cut out of larger sheets, so contact your local printer to see what an economical size is if you wat to divert from standard sizes.

Page count

The more pages you use the more expensive it gets. More paper is used, the printing press has to run longer, more pages means more ink, more manpower... more money.


One of the biggest factors for your price per magazine is the quantity. Of course your total price goes up the more magazines you’re getting printed, but the price per magazine might actually drop drastically when you go from 5,000 to 10,000 issues.

Binding style

There’s a lot of ways to bind a magazine, the most popular methods being perfect-bound and saddle-bound. Perfect bound is normally reserved for a larger page count. Saddle-stitching is usually the most cost-effective way, using staples to bind the papers together.

Vanity options

There’s many vanity options you can add to make your magazine look more appealing like coatings, special paper types and cut outs. And you’ve guessed it, any additional step means extra expenses for your magazine.


Once a magazine is printed it still needs to be distributed. Are all the magazines shipped to one address or do they need to be delivered to the readers doorstep? Especially with an international audience these costs can go through the roof pretty rapidly.

It doesn’t just cost a lot of money

Printing a magazine doesn’t just cost a lot of money, it also cost a lot of trees, time, energy, chemicals… Looking at the total cost of producing a magazine we totally get it why more and more organisations transition to online publishing and choose Greenzeen as a cost effective alternative.

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