How to Find the Perfect Printer for Your Self-Published Graphic Novel

The journey of self-publishing a graphic novel can be both rewarding and challenging. One of the crucial decisions you’ll have to make in this process is finding a reliable printer. A good printer can make your artwork come alive on paper, while a poor one can diminish the quality of your hard work. With so many options out there, how do you make the right choice? This blog post will guide you through the key considerations to make when selecting a printer for your self-published graphic novel.

Quality and Reputation

Before diving into the technical aspects, research the reputation of various printers. Look for customer reviews and ask for sample print jobs to assess the quality. Some printers may even offer a discounted or free sample print for first-time customers. Remember, the quality of their printing will reflect on your project.

Types of Printers

  • Digital Printers: Ideal for smaller print runs, digital printers are typically faster and less expensive for small quantities.
  • Offset Printers: Perfect for large volumes, offset printers offer a high quality but may require a more substantial upfront investment.

Services Offered

Many printers provide additional services like binding, finishing, or even distribution. Consider what services you’ll need and find a printer that can accommodate all of them. This may not only save you money but also simplify the logistics.

Material and Ink

The type of paper and ink used can drastically impact the look and feel of your graphic novel. Whether you want a glossy or matte finish, full-color or black and white, make sure your printer offers various options to suit your needs.


Budget is a significant factor in any self-publishing project. Obtain quotes from multiple printers, taking into account not just the printing cost but also shipping, handling, and any additional services you may require. Some printers offer a discount for bulk printing, so be sure to ask about any available deals.

Turnaround Time

Deadlines are crucial, especially if you’re coordinating with other aspects like marketing and distribution. Make sure the printer can meet your timelines without compromising on quality.

Environmentally Friendly Options

As sustainability becomes more important, many printers are offering eco-friendly printing options. If this aligns with your values or the themes of your graphic novel, it might be worth considering.

Top Comic Book Printers for Self-Publishers

While there are numerous printing services available, here are some of the top options tailored specifically for comic books.

1. PrintNinja

  • Specialization: High-quality offset printing
  • Additional Services: Custom options like foil stamping, embossing, and special binding.
  • Minimum Order: Typically 250 copies.

2. Ka-Blam Digital Printing

  • Specialization: Digital printing, ideal for smaller runs.
  • Additional Services: Provides a marketplace to sell your comics.
  • Minimum Order: No minimum order requirement.

3. RA Comics Direct

  • Specialization: Offset and digital printing.
  • Additional Services: Offers free paper samples and file checks.
  • Minimum Order: Varies based on services.

4. Greko Printing (Comix Wellspring)

  • Specialization: Digital printing with an emphasis on vibrant color reproduction.
  • Additional Services: Graphic design services and UV coating.
  • Minimum Order: Typically around 25 copies.

5. BookBaby

  • Specialization: Full-service printing, suitable for graphic novels as well.
  • Additional Services: Editing, eBook conversion, and distribution.
  • Minimum Order: Flexible, but better rates for larger orders.

6. Comix Well Spring

  • Specialization: Both digital and offset printing.
  • Additional Services: Various binding options and online quotes.
  • Minimum Order: Usually a minimum of 25 copies.

7. Smartpress

  • Specialization: Custom online printing suitable for comics and graphic novels.
  • Additional Services: Wide variety of paper types and finishing options.
  • Minimum Order: No minimum.

8. DriveThruComics

  • Specialization: Print-on-demand services.
  • Additional Services: Digital distribution.
  • Minimum Order: As low as a single copy.

9. IngramSpark

  • Specialization: Print-on-demand with global distribution options.
  • Additional Services: eBook conversion and marketing services.
  • Minimum Order: One copy.

10. Lulu

  • Specialization: Print-on-demand, well-suited for graphic novels.
  • Additional Services: Distribution and marketing support.
  • Minimum Order: One copy.

Printing Your Self-Published Comic Book in China

China has become a popular destination for comic book printing, owing to its lower costs and high-quality printing capabilities. However, there are several factors to consider before you take the leap and send your project overseas.


  • The most compelling reason is often the cost. Printing in China can be significantly cheaper than in Western countries, especially for larger runs.
High-Quality Printing
  • China has a reputation for high-quality offset printing, capable of handling complex color reproductions.
Special Features
  • Printers in China often offer a variety of custom options like embossing, foil stamping, special binding, and more.


Language Barrier
  • Not all companies may have English-speaking customer service, which could pose challenges.
Shipping and Import Fees
  • Although the printing may be cheaper, you’ll need to factor in the cost of shipping and any customs or import fees.
Longer Turnaround Time
  • With shipping, customs clearance, and the printing job itself, you may be looking at a longer timeline than with a domestic printer.
Intellectual Property Concerns
  • Make sure to research the printer’s reputation, as counterfeiting can be a concern.

Popular China-Based Printers

  1. Imprintor: Specializes in high-quality color printing and offers a range of custom options.
  2. Gold Printing Group: Known for quick turnaround times and competitive pricing.
  3. CBP Printing: Offers both small and large-run printing services with various customization options.
  4. Regal Printing: Specializes in high-end comics and graphic novels with various binding options.
  5. Asia Pacific Offset: Offers comprehensive printing solutions, including special finishes and binding.

What to Consider

  1. Request Samples: Always ask for samples to evaluate the quality.
  2. Check References: Look for reviews or ask for client references.
  3. Shipping Estimates: Get full quotes that include shipping and import fees.
  4. Payment Terms: Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment terms, which often require a deposit upfront.

Printing your comic book in China can offer financial advantages and high-quality results, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Research thoroughly, plan for longer turnaround times, and account for all potential costs to make an informed decision.


Choosing the right printer for your self-published graphic novel is no small feat, but by carefully considering the factors above, you can find the one that aligns with your needs and aspirations. Take your time to research, ask questions, and even visit the printing facilities if possible. After all, your graphic novel deserves the best possible presentation.

Good luck, and may your graphic novel be a resounding success!

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