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Worthy print-on-demand service for maps?


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#1
erik

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I have a long and not very wide map that I want to offer as a poster, in two orientations. I do not want to deal with the hassle of inventory, sending them out myself, accepting checks in odd currencies, etc.

So I uploaded my map in super-high res. to Zazzle and ImageKind. Unfortunately neither offers support for vector PDFs.

Here's the base pricing on this map from one of the services (in US$):

32x8.8” $21
48x13.2” $36
60x16.5” $51

and the other:

34x9” $20
52x14” $35

So first off, that is the break-even price not including shipping; the actual price has to be higher or I'd get zilch for my thousand hours. Also it is the price for the cheapest paper. Of course you can pay more for fancier paper. Funny thing is, the sample prints I got from the two vary quite a bit because the cheapest paper for one was matte and the other semi-gloss; plus they seem to have quite different color profiles. Even then, looking at them with a loupe, there is noticeable difference in the detail quality.

I have to really doubt that anyone's going to want to pay the end-user prices (the above figures times 1.5 or whatever the multiplier ends up being) for a poster map. There's no point offering a smaller size poster as the details become too small at say 20" wide. I've looked at what other poster maps are offered at and typically a 48" long poster goes for $20-$30. A good feature of both of the above services is that they offer framing and matting options.

I know there's some interest in the poster at these larger sizes too, as I've made up a few on my Epson printer and they seem to disappear in a hurry.

Are there other services you have had good experiences with? Or am I going about this the wrong way? Other ideas?

erik

#2
Matthew Hampton

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I'm not sure if they're worthy, but you could check out www.geoprinter.com

They seem to be geared to maps, but it seems they don't print on regular bond and their prices seem a bit higher since the maps are laminated.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#3
erik

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I'm not sure if they're worthy, but you could check out www.geoprinter.com

They seem to be geared to maps, but it seems they don't print on regular bond and their prices seem a bit higher since the maps are laminated.


That's very interesting. Thanks!

erik

#4
MapMedia

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[quote name='erik' date='Oct 14 2010, 04:30 AM' post='34290'

32x8.8” $21
48x13.2” $36
60x16.5” $51

and the other:

34x9” $20
52x14” $35


[/quote]

Wow those are great prices. Thin and tall maps require custom framing I guess, so that's something to consider - making the map fit commonly found frames.
Is this printer a drop shipper or do you have to go and personally pick the map up, package it (60" tubes are not cheap) and ship it?

Maps.com had a service for cartographers to sell their maps thru them, but you lose all control of branding etc. But the upshot is you do not have the fulfillment hassles for piece meal orders.

If the maps sell quickly, why not order a batch of 1,000? Your profit margin will shoot way up.

#5
erik

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Maps.com had a service for cartographers to sell their maps thru them, but you lose all control of branding etc. But the upshot is you do not have the fulfillment hassles for piece meal orders.

If the maps sell quickly, why not order a batch of 1,000? Your profit margin will shoot way up.


I'm pretty determined that I'm not giving up my branding.

Shipping is extra for both of those services, and I don't know if you can pick up the order at their facility or not.

That is the difficulty--I don't know what the market potential is for this map in a region of 1.5M people. Also with a print run, I'd be committing myself to one size and orientation, and I really want to offer multiple sizes and orientations. Maybe I'll run a survey on my site and see what the interest level is at different price points.

erik

#6
Matthew Hampton

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Another site I found that looks promising is Mimeo. They offer PDF upload, but I'm not too sure if they accept raster/vector. Their site seems a little more sophisticated than georpinter.com.

Regardless, I think the forum would be greatly interested in your experiences. I think POD maps make a lot of sense for the reasons you provide.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#7
Michael Karpovage

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Has anyone used Maps.com Marketplace service for print on demand and fulfillment? If so, what has your experience been like? In particular, the marketing they have.

http://www.maps.com/mdcmp-faq.aspx

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Michael Karpovage

• Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map
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