My paper sample arrived from RA Comics Direct! The paper quality feels and looks very nice. Back in my fanbook days, these papers both interior and cover would have been perfect.
When I emailed their rep for information on black and white printing and getting a hardcopy printed, he suggested 80 lb opaque offset. It’s really firm paper! I think for my hardcopy I’ll go for the 60 lb. I think a floppy would feel better with less stiff interiors.
They mention on Twitter they don’t have separate machines for black and white. They use the same machines like their color counterpart. I’ll admit ignorance that I’m not sure if printers do use separate machines for color or black and white, but I have a feeling this is why their black and white is not less expensive than it’s color option.
The site only mentions 300DPI required, but they’ll accept up to 1200DPI.
I’m still a bit iffy on the price. Just a bit. I’ll compare with Ka-Blam, since it was the last POD I’ve used.
At RA Comics Direct, you must buy at least 25 copies. (No set-up fee) Ka-Blam, at least 1. (And no set-up fee as well.) So by going through Ka-Blam, ordering 25 books that have a standard color cover and 24 pages of black and white interiors, going by their most fast expedited shipping option (Shipped within 11 days) is $93.85. Through RA Direct, using 60 lb opaque interior paper, 80lb uncoated opaque color cover with their NORMAL turn around of 3-4 days is $81.90. That I find not too bad! (EDIT: I find it not too bad at that speed. Ka-Blam’s normal month-ish turn-around is about $53) But once you hit 40 page+ and perfect binding is where it starts sliding around.
I published the FKMTverse anthology through Lulu. The book is 200 pages, and the last time I checked, was $10.50. Trying to emulate the same size and type at RA Comics, the price (When divided by 25) is $15.22! YOWZA. But to be fair, at Lulu I cheated because I wasn’t using their comic book prices, I went with a text book size/template. Lulu’s comic prices are stupid-high as well.
I can see RA Comics has a fast alternative to Ka-Blam. We’re not sure if they’ll have horror stories that Ka-Blam and Comixpress share yet, but they are a division of Robinson Anderson Print, a larger printer. For our next book, I’m definitely going to give these guys a shot. But… I’ll keep the awkward method of ordering FKMTverse at Lulu for now.