11 by 17 paper suitable for a magazine

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by michael_levy|3, May 20, 2018.

  1. I am close to buying a 17" wide printer. One of the things I want to do with it it to produce small photo books - soft cover, stapled in the middle. Like a magazine, with a glossy cover and semi-gloss inner pages. The paper weight should be much less than the usual photo paper. Plus, I would like to print on both sides of the paper. Seems to be that around 20-30lbs would be good for the inside pages. Are there high-quality lightweight papers available in 11 by 17 that could be used in this way?
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  2. I've used double-sided matte inkjet paper, but it's much thicker than you need for a book or magazine. Any thinner, and you are likely to have ink bleed through. Ordinary offset paper will cause ink to spread - ugly.

    I have two alternatives. (1) Print on one side on photo quality paper and put the photos in an album or portfolio, back to back. (2) Compose the book in a publishing program (e.g., InDesign), and have it printed on a high quality, ledger sized laser jet at a print shop. I buy laser-compatible 80#* and 100# glossy text paper from a local jobber. Not all glossy paper is compatible with a laser jet. The coating tends to melt and stick to the drum.

    * 80# glossy text is what high quality magazines (e.g., National Geographic) uses, and is about the same thickness as 20# copy paper. 80# glossy cover is much heavier. Descriptions matter, so talk to a paper jobber about your needs. The "weight" is approximately that of a ream (500 sheets) of 24"x36" paper. A ream of glossy paper weighs about 3x as much as copy paper the same thickness. Most print services in office stores are run by button-pushers.
  3. Sorry, I can't help with the American measurements. - How would one convert the lbs you are talking about to g/sqm? 20lbs/sqm would be 3.5" thick...
    That being said: Are you sure any digital printer is suited to print on narrow paper fed via the long side? Do you have the means to cut your booklets into shape, after stitching their backs?
    I assume no printer works borderless, so you'll have to cut 3 times, to get a magazine look.
    It would be helpful if you were more detailed about the printer you are planning to buy. - Does it claim to be perfecting? Did you get reviews how well it does that job?
    The digital printers I encountered all suffered from not precisely feeding the paper; i.e. If I run a stack of digital prints to cut or crease them through a letterpress, it is unfortunately perfectly normal that the printed image shakes about 1mm back and forth from sheet to sheet. Front and backside images aren't always well registered either. The only way to cut digital output really precisely seems printing video marks and using a cutting plotter detecting them on the finished sheet.
    If you want to print both sides on an inkjet, you'll need paper coated on both sides.
  4. I am leaning towards the Canon pixmaPro 1000. Mostly, I will make conventional prints on quality photo paper. But I thought it would be great if I could also make my own booklets.
  5. "But I thought it would be great if I could also make my own booklets."

    - You're probably better off using an online printing service for short runs of this kind.

    My experience concurs with others; that double-sided inkjet printing isn't advisable or terribly successful. However, I'm sure the Pixma Pro 1000 would be a great choice for individual photo printing.

    I've successfully printed greetings cards to be folded after printing from an A3+ Pixma. The registration was near perfect from card to card. A simple guillotine and folding template made an excellent and reasonably easy job of it.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  6. Innova makes/made a double sided cotton, matte finish paper suitable for 2-sided printing, but it was "grain long" i.e., the paper fibers were oriented in the long dimension of the paper. To fold an 11" X 17" (B-size) sheet of paper into four 8-1/2" pages, the grain must run across the paper dimension. Otherwise it will not break cleanly at the fold. Another consideration is that to make "saddle stitch" booklets of this sort, you must have a stapler that can reach the center of the page. So to make an 8-1/2" X 11" booklet, your stapler must have a 9" deep throat.

    I concur w/ Rodeo Joe above (again) that this would be better done by an on-line book maker like Blurb or the like.
  7. There is no reason to feed the long side of paper in a digital printer. The content can be rotated digitally, and printed starting on the short side. If you plan to make a booklet, the paper would be folded in the center (saddle fold) with two pages, side-by-side, on each surface. The process of deciding which page goes where is called "imposition". You can do that manually (as I do), or allow a publishing program like InDesign do the work for you. If you have more than two sheets to fold, you also have to trim the edges once stitched. A 50 page book is divided into "pamphlets", which are stitched, folded, and glued to a bak with other pamphlets.

    Sound complicated? Not really, but to make everything come out right and even, it should be done by a service bureau.

    You can design your book in InDesign with the pages in reading order. Most service bureaus will take an InDesign (or Quark) file, do all the fitting and impositions for you. Most prefer an RGB file and a sample, so they can convert to CMYK for printing on their particular equipment.
  8. I didn't say that the paper had to be fed long side in. I said the grain normally runs long ways and that keeps the fold from being clean and sharp. Everything else you said was right on and correct.

    The big issue with trying to print saddle stitch booklets yourself is the paper. It has to be thicker than normal 20lb paper to not bleed through, but thicker papers don't necessarily fold well.
  9. Folding heavy paper stock without wrinkles or cracking requires a creasing tool. This can be as simple as a bookbinders "bone" or a desktop machine with scales, stops and a lever to crease the paper in one stroke. For about $500, you can buy a machine to crease, fold and stable booklets in one stroke.
    Charles_Webster likes this.
  10. So back to the OP's request, in addition to a printer capable of printing 11X17 pages, he's going to need a $500 machine to crease, fold, and staple the booklets.

    A big investment unless he's going into business making and selling booklets.

    Yet another motivation to outsource to Blurb or the like ;-)
  11. Inkjet paper is rather fragile. In order to fold it without cracking, you need a creaser. A bookbinder's bone costs about $6 on Amazon. How much you spend beyond that depends on how many you need to produce in a reasonable time. Even with the simplest tool you could easily outpace an inkjet printer.

    The smallest inkjet printers which will handle 11"x17" paper generally have a 13" capacity.
  12. Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I have made my first small book, and I am happy with the results. I used Red River Premium Matte double-sided 32lb 11 by 17" paper. I composed using Quark Express - it has good printer control. I used a bone-folder to fold the pages, and a long-arm stapler to staple. After printing a side, I hung the pages over-night to dry. No discernible bleed-through.

    It is hard to show the result, but here is a picture I took with my iPhone. I plan to get more ambitious with respect to number of pages and binding.

  13. It looks very nice. Congratulations.

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