Printing and Binding Game PDF Files

I am sure that most of my readers own at least one game in PDF format. I own several myself.

But I hate reading a PDF.  I cannot sit in front of my computer for two hours reading a game, no matter how good.

To that end, I tried printing out my games on a laser printer. Here is my printed copy of  “Hot War .”

Note the miniatures next to this tome for scale. It is a 200-page book that actually took 200 pages to print…single-sided. My home laser printer cannot do double-sided printing. I thought I could live with the extra pages, but even with binding it, (discussed later) it is just too much too handle. It also made me feel guilty for killing extra trees.

I finally broke down and decided to outsource my PDF printing. I thought my research might be of use to other PDF buyers, so I created some criteria before  talking to potential printers.

1. Cheap

2. Cheap

3. Durable

4. Decent end-product. It does not need to be beautiful, only functional.

I initially took my mountain of paper (aka “Hot War”) to Staples .  They used a “tape binding.” It is just the white cover with glue on the spine. Staples inserts the pages, heats up the glue and lets it cool.  The beautiful title font is “Trask-serif.”  Look for it in the next edition of MS Office. 😉

The binding is adequate, but nothing amazing. I am sure it will fail with repeated use. The paper cover also did not impress me. I ripped it just picking up the book for this post!  It did meet my “cheap” requirement at $4.00 for the binding. With my DIY print job, total cost is around $6.00 for the project.

My second attempt involved totally outsourcing the print job. I used another game, “Cold City ” as my test document.  I asked three vendors to quote the following job:

100 pages, Double-sided printing

20-lb paper

Black and white printing only

Glue binding

Clear vinyl cover with blue spine/back.

My three print shops were:

Staples

Kinko’s

OfficeMax

I chose these three because they are everywhere and can get jobs done quickly.  I submitted the job to each of them  through the internet and here are the results

Kinko’s = $67.00

OfficeMax = $13.11

Staples = $12.00 web submission. (in person $25.00!)

Staples needs an explanation. I actually dropped by and tried to submit my job in person. That is where the $25.00 price came from. I declined, went home and submitted it through the website. Same job became 50% less.  Not sure why the big difference in price, but go with the web rather than in person.

I chose Staples and here is the result:

The vinyl cover is clear, but durable and I think the glue binding should endure many game sessions with ease. Best news is that the 100 page document is only 50 pages of paper. Weight and trees are saved!

This is the best option I found that met all of my criteria and will be using this method going forward. If anyone else has a better option, please post it in the comments. I would really like to hear about it.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer

trask

Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.