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Self-Publish Your Own Custom Book: Making it Happen


At PrintingCenterUSA, we make the process of self-publishing your custom book extremely simple. Printing for artists, photographers, businesses, education professionals, health professionals, and non-profit organizations has never been easier.

6 Easy and Affordable Steps to Self-Publish Your Own Book:

  1. Write, create, and proof your book copy
  2. Create your files in the Adobe Suite (InDesign or Illustrator)
    Utilize our free online design tool.
  3. Upload your print-ready PDF files for a free 43-point file review.
  4. We will send you a proof within 1 day for you to ok.
  5. Approve or reject your proof.
  6. Once you accept your proof, we will print, bind, and ship your book to your specified address and within your selected time-frame.

Instant Book Pricing: Learn More

Free Book Sample Packet: Learn More

We’ll expand on some of the details of these steps throughout the blog. First, let’s clarify something.

What is the difference between custom book printing and book publishing?

Custom book printing is when you produce and maintain ownership of your book, booklet, magazine, memory book, children’s book, etc. PrintingCenterUSA uses your custom book PDF to print and bind your book without the use of an established book publisher. Traditional book publishers want to own your intellectual property in exchange for printing and distributing your book.

But self-publishing isn’t limited to books. At PrintingCenterUSA, you can self-publish your own soft-cover magazines, booklets, brochures, catalogs, and calendars. We specialize in short run soft cover books and are sure to have the perfect option for your custom project–and at an affordable price.

To help our customers on the self-publishing journey, we gathered some tips to ease any of your self-publishing apprehensions.



After gathering all of your book content, you are sadly not done. Not at all. There are endless technical terms that go into getting your work prepared for book printing alone. Bleeds? Paper Weight? Saddle-Stitched? These are not exactly layman’s terms.

Our friend Markus Heinrich, author of a self-published children’s book Saving Like a Sloth, suggests that “when you need a break from writing, then do the research. There are tons of resources online for you to gather all the knowledge about printing and self-publishing that you could ever need."

Especially if this is a hobby that you’re trying to shift into your career, then buck up and start treating it like your job. And, with every job, there is a balance between fun vs. necessary. Here are a few of the maybe not-fun-things that you truly need to understand moving forward in preparing your print-ready PDF to self-publish.

  • Bleeds: Get used to it! Every cover and every page with images or graphics that bleed off the edge of the page should take bleeds into account. Wikipedia defines a bleed as “printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off.” PrintingCenterUSA has put together a file-checklist that will help you make sure you’ve done this right.PDF File Checklist
  • Page Counts: When saving your PDF, it is important that you count all single pages including: front cover, inside front cover, inside back cover, and back cover. We do not accept spreads. Your file will always include four cover pages. If you only want to print on the outside of the cover page, you can leave the second and third cover pages empty—but those blank pages need to be included in your file.

  • Binding Options: At PrintingCenterUSA, we do not publish hard cover books. We do offer multiple durable coverstock options that are bound (pun intended) to add the that professional finish (another printing pun) to your project. The binding types we offer are:

    Saddle-Stitch Perfect Bound Spiral Wire-O 

    • Saddle Stitched: This is the most popular, inexpensive, yet professional form of binding. The pages lay flat and stay open when flipping through them. Saddle stitching can accommodate page counts from 8 to 92. Because saddle stitching is basically single sheets of paper printed on both sides, folded and stapled in the middle, the page count must be divisible by four.
    • Perfect Bound: Another one of our popular binding options, these are inexpensive and provide a durable, high quality, professional book. Perfect binding is the ideal choice for books with higher page counts (28 pages up to 2 inches thick). Perfect binding gives you a soft cover bound to the individual inside pages with strong, yet flexible PUR glue, creating a printable, square spine.
    • Spiral: can be up to 2 ¾ inches thick
    • Wire-O: can be up to 1 ¼ inches thick and may be more expensive.
  • Paper & Ink Options: Know what your product needs. If it’s a picture book, consider a 100# Premium Gloss Cover Stock + a Lustrous UV Coating for your cover. For your inside pages, consider an 80# Premium Gloss Text. The combination of these options will make your photo appear sharp and vibrant. If you’re self-publishing a project that needs to be able to be written on, such as a coloring book, then make sure you choose an uncoated inside text paper.


Since a print-ready PDF file is required to self-publish with PrintingCenterUSA, you need to do your editing prior to reaching our pricing tool. You don’t always see the errors when you are nose-deep in a project like this, so be fearless and just ask for help. Get as many eyes on your writing and page layout as possible. It can be intimidating to have everyone reviewing your work, but it’s worth it. Heinrich isn’t a grammatician by any means, but “with weeks of revisions and a ton of outside help, [he] was able to put something together.” Here are some tips for getting your PDF print-ready

  • Befriend a printer: You will want to utilize a printer that specializes in book printing services.  PrintingCenterUSA has specialized in book printing services for over 45 years.  We have a team of very highly skilled specialists that can help you paper selection, pricing and production requirements.  We are a #1 nationwide supplier for all types of book & booklet products. All files provided undergo a 43 point inspection to ensure the best quality delivered back to you, our customer.  PrintingCenterUSA is Fast, Easy & Affordable and our mission is to deliver high quality printing on time every time.

  • Befriend someone who has self-published a book: Whether it’s via online blogs or your neighbor down the street, you should get as many first-hand accounts of the self-publishing process as possible. They may have some crucial tips. For example, Joe Konrath, an author with a popular blog, elaborately explains tips and ideas in his blog. Take advantage of opportunities like this to learn from the mistakes of others, especially when it comes to self-publishing.

    Request a Quote: Learn More

    Speak to a Specialist: Learn More



If you aren’t visually gifted, then seek out help from your artist, designer, or photographer friend that you connect with. There are also very cheap options, such as Fiverr and 99 Designs for you to find the perfect visuals for your book (if you are lacking in creative friends). Heinrich believes “a well put together image can be just as descriptive as a page of text.” And he is absolutely right. Take your time and find the right solution.

Here are a few eye-catching examples to spark some ideas.


Travel Guides Cook-Books Picture Books


Magazines Calendars Programs


Ugh, Yes. Yet another task to master: Marketing. Unless you are a major public figure, the general public won’t just stumble upon your book. Konrath set his own personal resolution to do something to self-promote at least once a day. With your eye-catching design and your own creative impulses, the opportunities are endless. If you’re serious about selling, here are some marketing suggestions:

  • Build an online presence: Commit yourself to building a website and being a dedicated social media master. Share posts about your book across all platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’d also be a great idea to start a GoodReads account. Read up on tips and tricks to gain a presence and see to it that it’s done—for your own sake.

    Great Website SEO Resource:
    Learn More
  • Build a mailing list: It’s good to capture as many emails as possible and send out regular newsletters with updates on publishing, sequels, book tours, etc. This will be a great place for your close friends, family, and colleagues to get exclusives. Look into places like MailChimp or Constant Contact that make newsletters extremely simple.

  • Build relationships: Get out there and network! Join book clubs, go to readings, and get on the radar of influencers. When the time comes, send your new friends in high places a copy of your book. Maybe you’ll get a shout out!

  • Target your marketing: Whether it be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, GoodReads Ads, or good ol’ fashioned legwork: find your audience and market to them specifically. This takes trial and error, so get to it!

  • Get Reviews: Who has read your book? Reach out to your readers regularly and get those reviews! This should be a constant effort.

  • Maintain & Engage: It’s not enough just to be marketing yourself. Especially on social media, you have to keep it regular and engage your audience. Did someone comment on your post about your book? Reach out! Give them a follow! This increases your likelihood of getting seen now that algorithms (versus timelines) have taken over the world. Keeping your personality at the forefront with every response will definitely help keep your book in sight!

If reading these marketing tips just gave you a total anxiety attack, then maybe you should look into some online marketing templates. A safe place to start on this would definitely be Hubspot. Or if you have the budget, do some more research and find a marketing team that can help you out!



It is true that when working with an editor and publisher, your vision can become compromised. It’s a serious creative struggle. This is where self-publishing your book gives you endless flexibility. If you can stick to your gut, then then you will be rewarded. Heinrich describes the feeling of holding his first physical copy of his book as “pretty amazing.” I imagine that’s quite the understatement.




Free Online Book Designer

With our online design tool, it is easier than ever to design your saddle stitch, perfect bound, spiral, or wire-o book.

Online Design Tool

 Predesigned Book Template Downloads

If you have the Adobe design software (Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator) then you can choose between one of our many free book template grid downloads to help jump start your design!


If you are starting a calendar project and would like to speak with an expert, feel free to give us a call at 800-995-1555. Ready to place your next calendar order? Visit our website to get started!

Choreographing Fundraising Campaign for Indianapolis Performance Arts Nonprofit

Mon, Apr 22, 2019 @ 04:01 PM Matt Fey 0

KDO_Adaptive Dance2Committed to making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities, PrintingCenterUSA is again leveraging the power of its national customer base to fundraise for Indianapolis-based Kids Dance Outreach’s (KDO) Adaptive Dance program. Beginning on April 30th, PrintingCenterUSA will donate a portion of proceeds from select products to a KDO program that supports child dancers with Down Syndrome through the month of May.


Currently in the middle of recital season, we are printing countless dance recital programs for our clients. That’s why the launch of our fundraising campaign coincides with KDO’s Event of the Year. Scheduled for April 30th in Indianapolis, the event brings children of all abilities together for a performance featuring original choreography and live music. Starting in June, however, KDO will host summer programs to include a course specifically for dancers with Down Syndrome under its Adaptive Dance program — which is what the proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go towards.


Last December, we broke a record in rallying our customer base to make the largest donation ever by a company to the Special Olympics of Montana. The success of that campaign inspired us to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities across the nation.

By using the promo codes below when ordering select products online, we will donate up to $100 per order to Kids Dance Outreach.KDO_General


Dance25 — $25 donation to KDO on Select Orders Over $250

Dance50 — $50 donation to KDO on Select Orders Over $500

Dance75 — $75 donation to KDO on Select Orders Over $1,000

Dance100 — $100 donation to KDO on Select Orders Over $2,500


Founded in 2012, Kids Dance Outreach was created to give children of all backgrounds, abilities, and socio-economic status the opportunity to experience the power of dance. To date, the nonprofit has served over 9,000 children in the Indianapolis area at no cost to the children or their families.

Tips for Planning Your 2020 Custom Calendar

Calendar Printing 2020 Tips

If you’re a fan of giving or receiving custom calendars, then now is the time for you to think ahead­­ to your calendar design for 2020! Whether you are a photographer trying to showcase your work, a nonprofit raising money, or a business promoting your services, it is important to jump into the calendar design with a strategic plan.

Request Free Samples

When you create an aesthetic calendar, you are utilizing the custom calendar as a rare opportunity to have your brand in front of someone for an entire year. So how do you ensure you are seizing this opportunity? To get you started in the right direction, we have compiled some tips that will guide you through planning, designing, and ordering your custom online calendar. 

Calendar Printing 2020

Instant Calendar Pricing


Tips for Planning Your Calendar Design

1. Choose a Theme and Stick to it

Consistency is key to a successful calendar. Think about your stand-out calendars from the past. Was it a nature photography calendar? A calendar full of cute puppies? Did it include business promotions?

Be sure to keep your audience in mind when selecting your theme as well. What type of photos will they want to look at for a whole year?

Custom Online Calendar

Custom Calendar White Paper Guide Fundraising Calendar White Paper Guide

2. Photos are Key

If you are a photographer, then you have the advantage of showcasing your own work without having to search and pay for stock images. But plan ahead! If you’re going on a trip, come up with ideas beforehand for different photos and layouts that can be used as the monthly images in your 2020 calendar printing.

For the rest of us non-photographers, it is still crucial that your calendar includes vibrant, high resolution images. This will probably mean that you will have to search online and potentially buy the perfect image. Here are some valuable resources that will ensure you have sharp pictures.

  • Unsplash: These are free, breathtaking images that are free to download at hi-res. However, it is recommended that you give due credit to the photographer if possible.
  • Flickr: If you are using your calendar for promotional purposes, you must be sure to choose “All Creative Commons” under the “Any License” dropdown.
  • Fotolia: You’ll have to buy your images from here, but they have tons of options for you to sift through (especially for puppies).
  • Shutterstock: Whether you’re looking for landscapes, cities or animals, this site has a variety of images available for you to purchase.

Really, there are tons of websites out there, both paid and unpaid, that will have exactly what you need. For a more definitive list of these sites, click here.


Create a Calendar


3. Keep it Functional. 

For your business/promotional calendar, be sure to include which days your business will be closed or have obscure hours. For example, if your business will be closed on Labor Day, make note of that on the calendar grid.

Another useful element to add into your calendar are deadlines for your most popular seasonal products. For example, if you’re a clothing store that designs custom ugly sweaters for Christmas, you’ll want to put a reminder on your November grid for your customers to put in their custom order by a certain date to ensure they get their item by the holiday.

Custom Calendar Printing Quote

4. Include Promotions

A nice way to thank your customers is to utilize any extra space in the monthly grids by filling it with a promo code. This gives your customers more incentive to purchase from you and puts a positive light on your company.

Also, boldly mark the days you have big sales, such as Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, Labor Day, etc. so you can drive traffic to your store during those peak times.

To learn more about how you can get the most out of your fundraising calendar, click here.

Custom Calendars


Calendar Design Resources

Okay, now that you have your plan, how on earth do you execute the design? Luckily, we have a few design resources that will help you create the perfect calendar.


Free Online Photo Calendar Designer

We recently upgraded our online calendar designer, making it easier to design your calendar than ever! Our new design tool offers 3 binding types (saddle stitch, spiral & wire-o), 3 sizes to choose from (11” x 8.5”, 8.5” x 5.5” and 12” x 12”), as well as 2 grid options (Advertising vs. Generic).

Calendar Photo Designer

Predesigned Calendar Grid Template Downloads

Have the Adobe design software (Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator)? Choose between one of our many free calendar template grid downloads to help jump start your design!

Free Calendar Template Downloads

 Custom Calendar Designer


If you are starting a calendar project and would like to speak with an expert, feel free to give us a call at 800-995-1555. Ready to place your next calendar order? Visit our website to get started!

Getting Better Prices Than Kinkos: Brochure Edition

Thu, Feb 21, 2019 @ 02:42 PM Amber Gauthier 0

Kinkos Printing Costs

When it comes to printing, most people turn to what is familiar – their local Kinkos®, now called FedEx Office®. And when they search online, they are trying to find out some specific information on how much their printing needs will cost. But have you ever wondered why Kinkos® printing costs are SO expensive if you want more than one copy of that flyer your boss needs? This article helps you understand why they are so pricey and how you can save money on your printing needs!

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What are Kinkos® Printing Costs?

Before we jump into pricing, have you decided which product you need printed? Some of our top products are Brochures and Flyers so for arguments sake, we want to show you our Brochure and Flyer prices vs FedEx Office®, so you can really understand their pricing.

Brochure Printing - Kinkos® vs. PrintingCenterUSA

After visiting the Kinkos® Brochure Printing page, you will see that their print specification options are very minimal. They only offer one size (8.5” x 11”) whereas other online printers, such as PrintingCenterUSA, have a number of available sizes ranging from 3.5” x 8.5” to 11” x 25.5”.

After uploading your artwork and choosing the specs, you’ll see that the prices are ridiculous and border into crazy. (Don’t believe us? See the image on the right for a brochure printing price comparison).

As you can see, even with the same specs selected, Kinkos® printing costs for 100 brochures is over 3 times higher than printing prices at PrintingCenterUSA!


Instant Brochure Pricing: Get Started

Flyer Printing - Kinkos® vs. PrintingCenterUSA

Now say you’re on the market for some new flyers – again, online printers beat out Kinkos® Flyer Printing prices by a landslide. As shown in the image on the right, after uploading your artwork and choosing the product specifications, FedEx Kinkos® is not an affordable flyer printer choice.

Even with the same product specifications selected at both printers, Kinkos® flyer printing costs are far higher than those of an online printing company. At PrintingCenterUSA, you can get 1,900 flyers for the same price as 100 flyers from Kinkos® (WOW!).

Instant Flyer Pricing: Get Started

Create a Custom Quote

Why are Kinkos® Prices So Expensive?

The reason FedEx Office® is so expensive is because instead of existing as a trusted online printing company with a single location like us, they have about 2,000 locations nationwide. So basically, you pay extra to keep all those stores in business. You pay to stock those stores, you pay the staff, and you pay for all the equipment to keep each and every store running.

Why not choose the #1 Rated Printing Company for your printing needs? Our single location means we have access to getting you the lowest price because we don’t overcharge you for operating costs.


We have hundreds of great reviews from our loyal customers, and we want to give you a great experience too!

Don’t Overpay, Order with Us Today!

Let us prove to you why our slogan is Fast, Easy and Affordable. Contact us today via email or call us at 800-995-1555 for a custom quote. If you aren’t quite sure what you need, order a free sample packet of all our products so you can view all our high quality products. We also have online design tools and FREE templates to help you get started!

*Note: Our prices DO fluctuate throughout the year. This pricing is accurate for the time this article was posted.

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What is a Zine? | PrintingCenterUSA

Mon, Feb 11, 2019 @ 08:15 AM Linda Malisani 0

First Off, What is a Zine?

Zine publications are a great format for anyone to share their thoughts, experiences, photos, artwork or interests, get them in front of an appreciative public and connect with other people with similar interests.

What is a Zine?

If you are just learning about zines, they are small-circulation independent publications with an endless list of themes from photography to flowers and from comics to science fiction. They cover niche subculture topics, generally outside of the mainstream and appeal to an alternative public. Zines are artistic, personal, political, cultural or experimental. You may have heard the word “fanzine” which is a non-official publication produced by ‘fans” of a cultural genre (art, music, film, literature).

Size tends to vary, but the most standard sizes are 8.5" x 11", 6" x 9" or 5.5" x 8.5" folded and stapled. Dimensions may be customized to suit your purpose, so let your creativity guide you! Page count varies from as few as 8 pages and up. The traditional binding process for zine printing is saddle stitching, which can accommodate a publication of up to 92 pages. Anything larger will need to be perfect bound.

Instant Perfect Bound Pricing: Learn More
Instant Saddle Stitch Pricing: Learn More

How to Make a Zine

Print High Quality Zines Every Time with These 5 Easy Tips

1. Begin by deciding on content. What would you like to express or share? Will you include photographs or artwork? Will the zine be published in color or take on a vintage style with black and white images? What type of text will be used for this project? What story do you want to tell and most importantly what about the cover? If you are publishing a photozine, the sequence will be of utmost importance since text will be sparse. This is where the fun begins!

Zine Printing

2. Create a layout of your zine. To get started, either download our free zine templates, use our online design tool or use your own software. Get creative experimenting with different techniques and ideas. Sprinkle headings, descriptions or explanations throughout. Add color blocks, borders, special effects and make it your own. Once you are happy with the flow, print a black and white sample of your project and get an idea of how the printed version will look at this stage of the process.

PDF File Checklist

3. Pick the perfect software program to design your Zine. Adobe products such as Illustrator or InDesign are a good choice or use free online products such as Canva. Adjustments to image size or placement that would negatively affect the printing of your zine will be made now. Most designers find they must move images or text to fine tune the layout and format your publication for printing. This is a very important step in the overall process.

4. Easy imposition. When working with PrintingCenterUSA there is no need to setup your pages for imposition. We will do it for you! Most online printers have software to automatically impose your files and setting up imposition can actually slow down your project with a commercial printing company. Imposition minimizes printing time by maximizing the number of pages per impression and reducing the cost of press time and materials meaning a savings for you!

5. The finalized version should be converted to PDF format, which we prefer to publish your freshly designed zine. You are now ready to place your order with us! If you have any questions, PrintingCenterUSA’s friendly customer service representatives can walk you through the process. Either give us a call at 800-995-1555 or chat with us online.

Zine Printing 

Request Free Samples

Easy Online Order & Upload

Since you already know how many pages you need, just select the number of copies you would like to print and the type of paper weight and finish. You have a couple different options when selecting your paper. Text weight, which is a lighter brochure like paper, and cover weight, which is a cardstock paper, thicker & usually used as a cover to a nice zine product. Then, select gloss or matte paper based on your preferences. Coating options include UV coating to prevent scratching and to give the cover a professional, almost wet gloss look and feel. Click here to find more information about paper and options. You might also want to request paper samples before deciding.

Zine Pricing

Get an Instant Price, Upload Your Files and Place Your Order: Get Started

What Binding Do You Want?

Zine Binding

Choices for binding are also available and include saddle stitching or perfect binding. The traditional method for binding zines is saddle stitching which is a book binding tool using thin staples inserted into the spine of folded printed material and allows your booklet to lay flat. A zine publication with more than 92 pages will need to be bound with the perfect binding process. This process glues the pages and cover together at the spine and gives a sleek and professional look to thicker zine projects.

Binding Options

Get Zines Printed Fast

Once your order has been placed, we will provide you with a proof. Select either a hardcopy or a PDF proof which gives you one last opportunity to confirm that the placement, resolution, text, color, etc. is exactly as you want it. Once we receive your order and proof approval, in as little as 4-7 business days your zines will arrive!

While you are waiting for your printed zines to show up, think about how you will distribute them. Share them with friends and family or explore the whole network of Zine Fests out there from Chicago to Houston and Los Angeles to New York, put on by independent creators and publishers to trade and celebrate zines. If you can attend one you will really get an idea of the popularity of zines and the diversity of styles and content as well as get some feedback on your creation. 

Online Printing Services

Your first attempt at zine publishing might involve a learning curve, but the results will surprise you. Each time you will be inspired to create yet another. Congratulations! You have now joined the family of zinesters worldwide!

Get Started Today!