So you want to publish your comics in physical books! I do so myself and I can attest it’s super satisfying to be able to hold your work, and bring it to market!
These days it’s very scalable proposition too.
To start you’ll need a publishing tool like InDesign, Scribus, or one of the many other alternative desktop publishing software. I’ve used Quark Xpress back about 17 years ago, and now for a long time an older version of ID. Whichever one you adopt, will be how you assemble your book and prepare it for the printers. The printing specs will depend on the service provider and the format and aspect ratio you choose for your book.
They will tend to require a minimum of 300dpi, ‘dots per inch’, for good profesional looking printed results. If you’re doing just B&W lines, it’s recommendable to scan the art to give you 1200 dpi at print size – and then threshold and bitmap it to get the cleanest lines in your ink! Whatever you do, be sure to double check the project’s spects WITH your printer.
For locally sourced small digital printing runs, there are small to mid sized copy shops and boutique Risograph printers.
Locally, i’ve be relying on the services of Centre De Copie Papillon. They have great rates and do good work. They can take a digitally prepared booklet and do the full job including saddle stitch and perfect binding. Good for flyers, poster prints, banners, and zines with print runs up to the low hundreds.
For my book Dream Life, for its first, Launch edition, sent to crowdfunding backers and sold at shows. I used a bigger printer, that can handle print runs in the 500+ unit range. He’s ideal for anything up to about 1000+. I’m very happy with how the books came out, Caïus Du Livre Inc does great work.
The old school method is offset printing. There was a time when it was only really practical to do jobs over 1000 units, but i’m told these days smaller orders are possible. We’ve got a few reputable printers in Canada I read, Transcontinental & Lebonfon printing are a few Jason Brubaker lists to consider. Along with some overseas asian printing companies with offices in northamerica. It’s worth investigating a few to see who offers the best deal.
For books this means Print On Demand! Or POD. Mainly I use CreateSpace. They are a subsidiary of Amazon, and when you publish a book with them it automatically gets listed on Amazon, as well as through their extended distribution system if you like. For B&W books it’s a great deal, and still competitive for colour. They only do trade paperbacks starting at 22 pages. Be extra attentive to following their printing specs when preparing your books files for uploading, any small error can make a lot of work for you fixing it. Advantages include being able to edit and change your books at any time, and setting your own profit margins.
use this page to calculate costs and prices under “buying copies“
There are others too! I don’t at the moment, but i think it’s probably worth using more than one!
Ka-Blam.com are a popular POD service for comics. The do hard bound books too now, but specialized first in providing classic pamphlet and magazines, saddle stitched or trade paperback. They offer discounts too, if you let them include ads in your comic for their service.
I think the best personal advice i’d give, is starting out smaller, look into and visit local printers. If you can find one you like to work with there are a lot of advantages to being able to go see proofs in person and quickly address issues. And there’s much less shipping expense involved. But, POD offers some great advantages too!