Save Some Dough on Your Catalog!

Change, change, change. All this talk about change, right?! Well change can mean many things – it doesn’t only come in the form of a national promotion. In this post, change is referring to your company’s image – specifically your company catalog.

It’s getting closer and closer to the new year and I think, at least for some of you, that means it’s time to get ready to put out your new catalog! Here at Takao’s, we send ours out to coordinate with our new season which begins in July, so I’ve still got some time. Although I already have an idea for what our theme will be for 2012 – it’s going to have to be all hush hush top secret for now! 😉

Before you go out and print your catalog I thought I’d share some of my little secrets with you…well they’re not really secrets, more like a bit of insight into how I create our catalog. We all want to maximize our spending dollars, no matter what our budget is. I’ll give you a couple of considerations that will hopefully help you to get the most bang for your buck!

PrintPlace.comFirst off, you’re probably wondering where do we get our catalogs printed? Well, we used to go through a couple of local print shops…but I’ve found a source I’ve used for the past 4-5 years or so that has been the lowest in cost, with quality that is equal to the local print shops – Print Place! It’s an online print shop. I haven’t tried out any of their other products, but I’m extremely happy with the paper quality and color of our catalogs, and great customer service too! If you do go with Print Place you won’t get the sort of hand holding you do at a traditional print shop – you have to make sure your files, resolution, bleeds – all that good stuff – is up to par and ready to go, because you’re going to be preparing, then uploading and proofing your files (you can pay extra to have Print Place check to make sure your files are in the correct format), but you will save lots of $, because I’ve yet to find another place that can beat their prices at a comparable quality.

And if you google around you can usually find a coupon code to use on your order as well! …And if you can’t find a coupon, you can get a 6% Ebates rebate with Print Place (they have a lot of fine print in these rebates so read carefully)! I’ve done both of these in the past and they both work! – But you can’t use them together, darn! …And now you’re probably wondering what the heck is Ebates? Here’s a brief summary, you create an account on Ebates and you click on the link in their website to the corresponding store you wish to shop at – you’ll be redirected to the store’s website and that’s it, you’re all done! Ebates receives a commission for their referral if you make a purchase and they share that commission with you! Woohoo!

With all these savings you can use the extra money to upgrade the paper in your catalog or order in additional catalogs so you can distribute them to more of your customers or be able to more freely hand them out at tradeshows or you can allocate the money to other areas of your marketing plan or you can just keep it in your pocket!

Okay, so back to more catalog considerations…

    • Size –  We go with a 6″x9″ finished size booklet. Why? Because 6″x9″ is the largest size Print Place offers that still fits within the post office’s requirements for their letter size shipping rate. If say my dimensions were 6.25″x9″ instead of 6″x9″ and for the sake of this example weighing 1 ounce – my postage rate would double from $0.44 to $0.88 for the extra 1/4 of an inch! It doesn’t make much sense to pay twice as much for a quarter of an inch right?! This is because the post office has different rates based not only on weight, but also on size and shape. A 6″x9″ catalog can ship at the lower letter size rates, if I were to go larger I would be charged at their large envelope rates.

You may be thinking “So what! What’s some spare change?” Well, almost all catalogs will weigh more than just one ounce – which means that the unnecessary overage you’re paying could be well over $0.44 per catalog. Then you’re going to want to multiply that by the hundreds or thousands of catalogs that you’re sending out. You can easily see where a little bit of change can add up to quite a bit of money!

    • Number of pages – Yes, I even take the number of pages into consideration! Since our catalog is more about showcasing the fun side of plants I’m somewhat flexible on the number of pages I need to include. Also, keep in mind the number of pages will vary based on the paper weight and if you decide to do a heavier cover or not. If your catalog is thicker than 1/4″ or heavier than 3.5 ounces, your postage rate will increase from the standard letter size to the more expensive large envelope rate. Ours will weigh in at either 2 or 3 ounces – depending on the paper weight and number of pages I decide to use that year. It’s usually either 24 pages plus cover, or 28 pages plus cover (printer’s count each side as one page and the cover is counted as 4 pages – front and backside of the initial cover and the back cover).
  • Packaging – Should I use a white envelope or colored, maybe use a clear cello envelope…so many options. For me, I like to use clear mailing seals, which are small round stickers that are perforated down the middle so it’s easy to rip open. They don’t add any extra shipping weight or extra bulk and for our catalog size all you need are two seals placed along the length of the catalog to hold it closed. It’s extremely cost efficient, it allows our flashy cover to shine, it’s faster and easier than having to stuff envelopes and they take hardly any storage space (which is good if you have a small office like us!)

So there you go, a little bit of my behind the scenes! I know some of these tips may not apply to you – everyone’s needs will vary based on catalog use and how much information they need to share with their customers. I just wanted to put a few tips out there that might help you shave some dollars off of your catalog budget so that you can spend it elsewhere!



  1. Lisa,
    Great article and lots of good tips that most people don’t even stop to consider. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

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