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Q: Our nonprofit association recently lost its magazine publishing vendor and we are looking for another one. Do you have any suggestions about finding a good one? And what performance should we expect?

Answer: I encourage you to check with the Custom Publishing Council a trade group of companies offering publishing services to commercial and nonprofit organizations. Another option is to ask local publishing companies whether they offer custom publishing services.

You can also google the phrase 'custom publishing' to find publishing vendors in your area. Look for vendors who have experience with organizations of your size, perhaps even of your subject. And local ones are good if you can find them.

As to performance measures, here are two tips.

First, make sure the publisher is not earning a fee from the printer on top of what you pay them. In other words, make sure the publisher's price to you is independent of the printing bill. That way, they're motivated to help you keep printing bills down, not up.

Second, efficiency seems more important to most organizations that price. I mean, getting the book out on time, meeting deadlines, and producing a product that satisfies your needs. Often, if you focus the vendors attention on keeping the price down, they'll make unacceptable compromises in quality.

A couple of tips about trimming costs:

1. Make sure your design is cheap to produce. You can accidentally drive up the printing costs by choosing the wrong paper or trim size. Ask the printer how to keep done these costs.

2.Find low-cost sources for artwork, such as stock photos and illustrations.

Magazine publishing on a shoestring budget is covered in depth in our new book from Nolo Press, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing, available now from Amazon. Also in bookstores. Please email us if you have other publishing questions.

 
 

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