Thinking of printing

Sometimes it helps to think aloud...

This is our third year of designing, making and selling our Wester-Ross Pictures and Poems calendars. If you don't know about them, they incorporate twelve of my local land/seascapes painted in pastels each with a simple verse linking in with my thoughts on the subject. Of course the one we've been marketing locally this year is for 2010 but since September I've been working on the calendar for 2011.

To make commercial sense the finished product has to be in the shops by Easter. However a couple of small things are tending to get in the way - like the pre-launch of Going with Gabriel, due out 11 Feb 2010 - like the fact that we're moving house bit by bit with completion due 8th January. (Just down the road, folks, so no change in telephone number and postie Chris 'knows where we are' all right.)

Right now we know what kind of (new and unique) content and layout we want for the 2011 calendar but how we produce the thing is still a worrying blank. For each of the past two years we've had a couple of thousand printed in Scotland then we've assembled them at home, got on the old bike and sold them at competitive prices from Kyle to Ullapool via shops and markets. Trouble with that is that we are necessarily competing on price with the likes of charity calendars, advertising calendars, homespun photo calendars etc etc. And we've all seen the any two calendars for a fiver offers on product made by the tens of thousands in downtown China or somewhere. Like everyone else we need to make money on our stuff, and that's not easy. As my old boss used to say, 'sales without profit is sex without you know what'.

In short if we we are to produce our 2011 calendar at all we need to print it ourselves. Anyone know of a print machine costing less than a couple of thousand pounds that can operate on A3 or A3+ 170gsm semi-gloss media, double sided, at 30 sides a minute minimum? And using inks that cost less than a fortune per page?

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