OT: Small-run manufacturing of a concert-size (9 x 12) song book in the U.S.A

Have any of you U.S.A.-based Dorico users worked with commercial print shops that you’d recommend?

I’m looking to self-publish a short run (say, 50 copies to start) of a song book, 44 black and white pages, 4-color cover, saddle-stitched, 9" x 12".

One of my students is a professional book designer and says that this size might not be possible via digital printing and will probably require offset printing with minimum runs of 1,000. But that might be in the world of the large firms he works with.

A quick web search gave at least a couple of possibilities, but as I’m new to this, I’d appreciate any specific recommendations.

If that’s too far OT, please PM me.


I’m shooting from the hip here, but digital printing can certainly accommodate 9x12. It’s not really that uncommon of a size.

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I’m sure Black Ribbon or Subito could easily handle it.

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Absolutely possible in the digital world. My former full-time employer, for whom I still work for remotely part-time now, has a Canon imagePRESS C700 and an Océ varioPRINT 110. Both handle 12x18 as a native size, and I just printed saddle-stitched full scores on them last week. The C700, in fact, can print 13x19 also, meaning that full-bleed covers are possible by printing, cutting, and then inserting as part of the final job. We have a face trimmer as part of the setup, so the final product just pops out when done with no further work necessary.

I mention the specific models, because almost every FedEx Office I’ve been in to recently has a C700 with plenty of features to handle the job you mention (though face trimming might have to be done on their paper cutter manually). I have no idea what they’d charge. The specialist shops mentioned in another comment will possible be more inexpensive, but FedEx Offices are often easy to come across.

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Great! Thanks very much @FredGUnn and @Marc_Cerisier !

Keep those recos coming - always nice to have options!

Todd, I’m guessing your links constitute an endorsement? Have you used these printers? Recommend?

It’s been years, but I’ve used Subito before. They are in NJ so do a lot of work with the NYC engraving community. I haven’t personally used Black Ribbon, but a composer I often work with has before and was happy AFAIK. They seem to get mentioned more online and probably have more of a national presence.

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Another possible option: community colleges. I know around here, our community college has an in-house “print shop” for their internal documents. They will accept outside jobs with the caveat that school work comes first. Other than in the spring when they are busy with course catalogs, I’ve never been bumped.

Ours is fully staffed by professionals, not just students trying to learn. Might be worth a look. Can’t beat the pricing (at least around here)


I have used Lulu (https://www.lulu.com/) for a number of print jobs over the years. You choose your paper size, binding etc, upload a pdf of your final camera ready print, work on/upload a suitable cover etc and sit back and wait for the books to come through the post. Principal binding options are included eg coil bind, saddle stitch, staple for thin books, and ultimately perfect binding for larger work. Hard and soft covers.

You can call off 1 print to check the output without having to order a full run. After that you can choose as few or as many as you want,. Once the origination has been done, and paid for, the file is retained online and you then only pay a per copy cost as you call them off. Also possible for anyone who wants a copy to order directly if you set the appropriate options.

I have used the UK version including book sizes up to a two or three hundred A4 pages for very reasonable cost (you are of course doing most of the origination, they are just printing).

Have a look at the options on the website. There are many to choose from.

Unless I missed it, Lulu doesn’t do 9" x 12".

Lulu is great but they have a very limited number of paper sizes, and never the larger sizes I want for music. Apart from that, a reasonably good quality output for trade paperbacks and so on.

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Also, I think 80gsm stock is too flimsy. If parts are to survive the rigours of repeated use, they need to be 100gsm.