How to Print a Comic Book or Manga Cheap

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You want to sell copies of a comic book you created at a comic book convention. Perhaps you want to make a dojinshi (a Japanese style comic book that’s based on popular Japanese manga or anime) to sell at an anime convention. Printers will quote you astronomical rates to print very few copies. You can get a better price per comic if you print thousands, but it would be impossible for you to sell that many. What you really need is to print 200 copies or so. How can you do this without paying $5-$9 a copy? I’ll tell you how!

1. If you’re making an original comic book or manga you can skip this step.

If you want to make a fan doujinshi based on Naruto, Rin-Ne, or Death Note (for instance) you should check with the publisher who owns the property to see what their guidelines are for fan works. Some publishers prohibit fan works based on their characters. Others state you can print and sell certain quantities. It’s always good to respect the intellectual property of others.

2. If you’re selling dojinshi at an anime convention in an artist alley make sure you check the rules the convention has for these kinds of works also. Some conventions prohibit fan works.

3. If you want to keep your cost around $1 per comic you should plan for the following:

A color cover that’s blank on the inside.

A cover that does not bleed. (Meaning there’s a .125″ white margin all around the sides. You can choose to have your cover bleed, but at the time of this article writing it add $150 to your total cost).

16 interior pages that are black and white (You can have color, but that will double your price. It’s still a good deal, actually).

Interior page art that does not bleed. (If you must have bleeds you add $175)

A final page size of 8.5″x11″

4. The printer I use for this is actually a document printer who makes photocopies into stapled booklets. You should test how your pages will print on a photocopier before submitting your project. If you’re making a manga it’s important to make sure the screentones will print properly. You may have to do some reformatting of your shaded areas to make sure you don’t print moire patterns.

5. Go to Click their ‘Help’ link and then click to ‘Downloadable Templates’ on that pull-down menu.

Download the template for their 8.5×11 Flyer to get the right margins to format your pages. Each page, including your front and back cover, should fit these specifications. You should put all your pages into a single PDF file to upload to them. Their help page gives you resources on how to get your final file into this format.

6. Once your files are ready, go to their tab for ‘Stapled Booklets.’ For my doujinshi project I printed 250 copies for around $1 per copy. Here’s the options I chose:

How many Pages are in your file(s)?
20 Pages = 16 Pages + Heavy Cover

How many Booklets?

Copy Type?
Black and White

Finished Paper Size?

Paper Type?
20/50# White Laser Bond

Paper Color?

I chose not to bleed the covers or the interior pages

Heavy Cover Paper Type:
65# Glossy Cover – Color

My cost before shipping at the time of this article writing is $255.

After you submit the order you will have the opportunity to upload your files. This is a really a great and economical way to print a short-run of comics or manga!


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