How Much Does It Cost to Print a Magazine

We explain everything you need to know about the costs involved in printing a magazine

How much does it cost to print a magazine?
Image: Magazine Printed by QinPrinting

Printing a magazine is a fascinating, challenging, and time-consuming project. You need to design and create excellent, reader-focused content alongside high-quality photographs and images. You may also need to arrange advertising and sponsorship deals. But once all the design and content creation is done, and your artwork and layouts are complete, you’ll need a reliable printing press to print the magazine for you. And before you give them the green light, you’ll need to answer the fundamental question, “How much does it cost to print a magazine?” 

Like any other business project, the first thing that you need to sort out is the budget. You don’t need hope and guesswork. You need to figure out the exact amount of money that you need to print a magazine. Well, as an experienced offset printing company with a global reputation for excellence to maintain, we completely understand that. So, here’s a helpful and comprehensive guide to what you’ll pay to print your magazine down to the last cent. Let’s dive in.

Magazine Printing Price Chart

Saddle Stitch Magazine Printing and Binding Prices

    • Magazine size: 8.5″ x 11″
    • Printing: full-color printing
    • Cover: 250 gsm gloss or matte art paper with gloss or matte lamination outside
    • Interior: 128 gsm gloss art paper or matte art paper
    • Binding: Saddle stitch
Quantity /

Page count
100 200 500 800 1000 2000 3000 5000
Prices Updated on September 7, 2022 (The price doesn’t include shipping costs.

Perfect Bound Magazine Printing and Binding Prices

  • Magazine size: 8.5″ x 11″
  • Printing: Full-color printing
  • Cover: 250 gsm art paper with gloss lamination or matte lamination
  • Interior: 128 gsm art paper,
  • Binding: Perfect binding.
Quantity /

Page count
100 200 500 800 1000 2000 3000 5000
Prices Updated on September 7, 2022 (The price doesn’t include shipping costs.

The Factors Affecting Magazine Printing Costs

When it comes to printing a magazine, there are a lot of associated costs. As a publisher, you should be familiar with all the costs that add to the expenses of magazine production or you could miscalculate your budget with potentially disastrous consequences. So, it’s essential to make sure that you secure a good deal with your printer.

Here are some tips on how you can save money on printing a magazine. We list the factors that contribute to the cost of printing a magazine and what you can do to keep the associated expenditure to a minimum without sacrificing the quality of your finished publication.

Final Trim Size

The final trim size is the size of your magazine after the pages and cover have been cut down to the dimensions of the finished publication. While you may want to customize the dimensions of your magazine, choosing the “standard magazine sizes” is the most cost-effective option. The standard magazine sizes are:

*8.5″ x 11″ (210 mm x 297 mm) 

*5.5″ x 8.5″ (148 mm x 210 mm)

These dimensions are the same for both portrait and landscape orientation, but the proportions change. So, a portrait orientation would have the shorter sides top and bottom and the longer sides left and right, whereas a landscape orientation would have the longer sides top and bottom and the shorter sides left and right. For example:

8.5″ x 11″ is portrait and 11″ x 8.5″ is landscape.

Whatever the dimensions, the proportions are always given as width x height.

Page Count

One of the most important factors when calculating the printing cost is the page count. In magazine printing, we arrange the pages on larger sheets called signatures which are then folded and cut before being bound and trimmed. For this reason, with an 8.5″ x 11″ magazine, say, your most economical option will be to design your page count so that it can be divided by 16 as that’s the number of pages in one magazine signature at those dimensions. Likewise, 5.5″ x 8.5″ would be cheaper if you design it with a page count divisible by 32. So, let’s say that the interior page count could be 32, 64, or 96 pages.

Now, you might have figured out that all of these options can be divided by 4. This is called the binding request. If the page number is not a multiple of 4, then it’s impossible to bind the magazine. And remember that each “sheet” includes two pages (front and back). So, when calculating your budget, make sure you don’t get confused between sheet count and page count!

To be totally professional and avoid confusion, you can express your final page count — including covers — as the interior page count plus four. Because the cover sheet is four pages. So, if your overall page count is 64, say, you’d write that as 60+4. Then your printer will understand exactly what you mean.

Paper Choices

The most important part of any magazine is the paper. Good quality paper can make your entire brand. Therefore, you need to consider the weight and stock while ordering.

You can either use the same paper for both the inside and the cover, or you can go for different varieties. The cover can be thicker while the other pages can be lighter.

Paper Stock

Usually, there are three types of papers to choose from for your magazine:

  • Gloss art paper — Most magazines are on glossy paper. In fact, magazines are often referred to as “the glossies”. The shiny paper you see in magazines is coated to enhance its shine and make it more lustrous. If you want the colors and photography in your magazine to “pop”, gloss art paper is the best choice.
  • Matte art paper — Matte paper is also a coated paper, but its texture is silky rather than shiny.
  • Offset paper — Also called wood-free paper is uncoated and is fine for mostly text but tends to make photos look dull and a bit fuzzy. It’s the cheapest option, so if your budget is tight and your interior is mainly text, you might want to choose this for the inside pages and use gloss or matte coated paper only for the cover.

All these papers come in different thicknesses, which in the printing industry we express in terms of their weight. So, we have:

  • Gloss art paper: 80 gsm, 105 gsm, 128 gsm, 157 gsm, 200 gsm, 250 gsm, 300 gsm, and 350 gsm. 
  • Matte art paper: comes in all the same weights as gloss except for 350 gsm.
  • Offset paper: 80 gsm, 100 gsm, 120 gsm, 140 gsm, 190 gsm, 250 gsm, and more.

Typically, magazine covers are made of a thicker paper and the interior is of thinner paper. You also can choose a “self-cover magazine” style which means that the same paper is used throughout. That’s the cheapest option but won’t look as slick and professional.


Quantity also plays a vital role. We are an offset printer, which means that — for technical reasons — as you increase the number of copies you print in a single run, the price-per-copy goes down.

So if you print 100 hundred copies of a magazine, you’ll pay a higher price per copy than if you print 1,000 copies of the same magazine all at once. Likewise, 5,000 copies will be even less expensive per copy, and so on. For really substantial quantities, you can get the price-per-copy down to a few cents!

Magazine Binding Styles

The two most popular binding styles for magazines are “saddle stitch” and “perfect binding”. If your magazine has fewer than 48 pages, saddle stitch binding will be your cheapest option. Any magazine with a larger page count must be perfect bound. Perfect binding is the same process as paperback or softcover binding as it is often also called.

Magazine Surface Coatings

Most magazine covers are also treated with an added coating. The most common coatings are matte lamination, gloss lamination, and varnish. Besides coating your magazine cover, you also can also add other special finishes such as foil stamping, embossing, and spot UV coating. These special processes can make your magazine stand out in the market but they cost a little more. 

Shipping Costs

Shipping is the last cost you must account for when publishing a magazine. Our printing facilities are in Shanghai, China. We choose the most economical shipment method for you based on the overall weight. If the total magazine shipment weight is less than 200 kg, air shipment is the most cost-effective. If the total weight is more than 200 kg, sea shipment is better.

And, of course, once you have your magazines, you need to allow for the costs of mailing and distribution to your customers or outlets. To help with that, ask us for an estimate of how much each magazine will cost once we have all the specifications, and you can use that to calculate your ongoing distribution expenses.


To summarize, the cost of printing a magazine is dependent on several factors, including print size, page count, paper choices, quantity, shipping, surface coating, and binding style. You can get a good answer to how much it will cost to print your magazine from the handy charts above. For a more precise costing use our online price calculator. If you need any more information or help, please get in touch. We pride ourselves not only on the quality and affordability of our services, but our dedication to world-class customer care. Let’s talk!

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