DIY Zines

After realising how impractical it is to use Blurb and their Marketplace to print and distribute a magazine I decided to look into how I could do it from home by building and distributing my own zine. I went straight to to get price guides on these variables and Royal Mail for postage.

I used the following items to act as my rough costing guide:

  • A printer: Canon Pixma Pro-100 @ £290.77
  • Ink: Canon CLI-42 @ £64
  • Paper: HP Glossy Paper, A4 x100 sheets, 200gsm @ £12
  • Something to bind it: 5 Star stapler that reaches 320mm and 25 pages deep @ £33.74
  • Postage: local and international: £2.20 for UK with proof of delivery, and £3.50 to the USA but not tracked (to keep costs down), Europe would likely be cheaper.

So from that list the basic setup cost would be £400.51 and out of that there’s be a one off purchase of £324.51 for the stapler and printer with £76 worth of running consumables.

The Printer
Canon Pixma Pro-100 printers use 8 dye cartridges instead of ink or toner; 1 black plus 2 tones of Grey then an assortment of 5 additional colour cartridges. I break down the production costs based on making 20 copies of a 32 page A5 zine plus a cover and whether it’d be full colour or just black and white.

Paper Usage
A 32 page A5 zine plus a cover means I will need 9 sheets of A4 paper, so 9 sheets per issue from 100 sheets of photo paper I get 11 zines.

Ink Usage
Out of 9 printed pages 8 will be duplexed with 1 single sided print acting as the cover making 17 printed sides. Looking at an ink tolerances guide I saw mentioned somewhere else it said the B&W cartridges will get on average 900 prints and basing full colour printing estimates on the smallest cartridge average at roughly 200 prints. It’s likely all wrong but what the hell.

So after those completely unscientific guesstimates I then hung all of the following printing estimates off of them. From one cartridge pack I could roughly get 11 full colour zines using all the cartridges or 52 from just the B&W cartridges.

DIY_Zines-US_Postage DIY_Zines-UK_Postage
Printing and Postage
Running cost for a B&W zine based on all the previous fake science to make 20 copies of a 32 page zine:

  • 180 sheets of paper, that’s 2 packs @ £24
  • making 340 full page prints requiring 1 set of B&W/Grey1/Grey2 cartridges @ £30.60 for just those 3 cartridges
  • Total Cost = £54.60
  • Per Issue Base Cost = £2.73 (plus £2.20/£3.50 postage)
  • Per Issue Cost Plus Postage = UK: £4.93, USA: £6.23 ($9.43/€8.42)


Running costs for producing 20 copies of the zine in full colour:

  • 180 sheets or 2 packs of paper @ £24
  • 340 prints full colour possibly requiring 2 full sets of cartridges @ £64 x 2
  • Total Cost = £88
  • Per Issue Base Cost = £4.40 (plus £2.20/£3.50 postage)
  • Per Issue Cost Plus Postage = UK: £6.60, USA: £7.90($11.95/€10.68)

These are extremely rough costs based on assumptions and guesstimates so the reality would likely be different if not completely different, I’m sure my mathematics is pretty bad here so please correct me. Intangibles would be how the dye sits on paper, or whether the stapler can handle safely punch through the papers weight.

I will likely pursue this over the next year or so by saving up for each element piece by piece but first I have to pay off my Olympus EM10. I think it’d be good for my creative curiosity to chase this but also for GreySkies the photography collective I’m co-founder of, it’d be good for us to start producing a periodical detailing our photographic exploits.

But until next time …

Le Fin


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