Question: Cost of physical newsletter in olden days

16 replies
Have you ever been involved with a physical newsletter (the kind sent out by a church, club, organization, or company on a regular basis)?

I need to find out how much it would cost you to print this kind of newsletter in the pre-Internet days. I'm not looking to print one now. Just need the info for some research I'm doing.

Thank you!
#cost #days #newsletter #olden #physical #question
  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    Hmmm. A local one that didn't pay writers? Some staff time to write and copy at the xerox or copier. Sorting. Postage. Two days of staff time with a bit of senior staff time mixed in.
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    • Profile picture of the author WildGale
      Then maybe add $500 for Tylenol. Seriously, I have had to help with some of those things in my younger days.
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  • Profile picture of the author midnightskyfibers
    Not sure what it cost to produce, but Elizabeth Zimmermann published a newsletter starting in the 1950's and it cost 25 cents for people to subscribe to. She was huge in the knitting world, and her daughter now runs the company (Schoolhouse Press).
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Kevin:

    It really depended on a lot of factors, such as color vs black-and-white, number of pages, finished size, weight of stock, matte or glossy, etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
      Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

      Kevin:

      It really depended on a lot of factors, such as color vs black-and-white, number of pages, finished size, weight of stock, matte or glossy, etc.

      Say, a two-page, black & white, 11x8.5, regular paper
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      Kevin Riley, long-time Warrior living in Osaka, Japan

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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
        Originally Posted by Kevin Riley View Post

        Say, a two-page, black & white, 11x8.5, regular paper
        Two pages front and back, or two individual sheets of paper?

        Also, quantity was a huge pricing factor as well. Small quantity (that is, < 500 copies)?
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
          Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

          Two pages front and back, or two individual sheets of paper?

          Also, quantity was a huge pricing factor as well. Small quantity (that is, < 500 copies)?
          Let's make it 2 pages folded. So 4 pages front and back. Quantity of 1000
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          Kevin Riley, long-time Warrior living in Osaka, Japan

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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
            Originally Posted by Kevin Riley View Post

            Let's make it 2 pages folded. So 4 pages front and back. Quantity of 1000
            Ok, so back then I would have printed that on 11 x 17 and folded it. By the way, that was probably the most common format I would have used...

            Unless my memory is completely failing, on a decent weight matte paper that would be good for folding and mailing, I'm going to say about 21 cents each.
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Hi Kevin,

        Here's a link of questionable value I found doing a quick search for newsletter prices in 1992.

        Perhaps it will give you some food for thought as you mine it for ideas. Then again it may just give you a headache. :p

        NO 47 -- September 13, 1992

        Best,

        ~Bill
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
          Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

          Hi Kevin,

          Here's a link of questionable value I found doing a quick search for newsletter prices in 1992.

          Perhaps it will give you some food for thought as you mine it for ideas. Then again it may just give you a headache. :p

          NO 47 -- September 13, 1992

          Best,

          ~Bill
          Thanks Bill. Going to head over now. Putting on my helmet to avoid headache.
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          Kevin Riley, long-time Warrior living in Osaka, Japan

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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    Kevin, if you need advice on things in pre-Internet days you should come to the oldest, wizzled up geezer on the Forum. Many people would nominate me to fit that description. I did a couple back in the late 70s through the 80s. One was related to media buying and the other related to education.

    Like Steven said above there are tons of factors. But when I started I seem to recall making photocopies for about 3¢ per impression on 8-1/2x11 20# paper. But when we got to 200-300 subscribers, offset printing at a quick print shop became more cost effective. I had a simple 4 page NL printed on 11x17 paper then folded in half and then tri-folded to fit into envelopes. Around 1980 I think I was paying about 16¢ each without the folding.

    You need to remember that the quality of photocopies back then wasn't nearly what it is today.

    As a side note, there used to b a company called SIE (Select Information Exchange) that would send you trial issues of something like 150 newsletters back then--most were either 4 or 8 page publications in the mail order related niche. (Cost was something like $39.)

    Today everyone thinks they are a copywriter (myself included), but I saved all of those newsletters for many years in a notebook. There were some real copywriting geniuses cranking out stuff back then. Guys like Joe Sugarman and Joe Cossman were knocking the mail order business on its ass with their copy. It was a real education. Sorry, I'm rambling--but lots of memories from the good old days. --Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
      Originally Posted by mikemcmillan View Post

      Today everyone thinks they are a copywriter (myself included), but I saved all of those newsletters for many years in a notebook. There were some real copywriting geniuses cranking out stuff back then. Guys like Joe Sugarman and Joe Cossman were knocking the mail order business on its ass with their copy. It was a real education. Sorry, I'm rambling--but lots of memories from the good old days. --Mike
      Mike:

      Back in the 80's I used to run display ads for my publications in the National Enquirer!
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    Steven, oh my gosh! Uh, I'm speechless. Nice to meet you and know that. I ran classifieds there and in Globe and others too. Had a display ad I ran also for my mail order stuff.



    Don't want to sabotage Kevin's thread with this junk, but it's nice to meet a kindred spirit!!! Those were fun days--exciting! Thanks for the info Steven!
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  • Profile picture of the author Saito
    Resurrecting this thread to attract the attention of anyone working with print newsletters TODAY.

    I am developing one for the real estate investing niche but not sure about going with an 8-pager or a full magazine. I DO know I will be getting a managing editor to handle the production, but some ballparks of what it really takes and costs to produce one issue would be helpful while I'm deciding on what the finished product will be.
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    In the olden days-wow- that makes me sound old, because I did this.

    It was $1.50 per newsletter, black and white, double sided, under 200 copies. That is not counting labor, writing or postage. If I remember right, I think it was around $300 total not counting our labor.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Mid 1990's I used to print 300 newsletters at an offset printing place for about $75. Hard to remember more details, but that was usually B+W, but may have been more on colored stock (20 lbs)...
    _____
    Bruce
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