If you're looking for someone awesome and dependable to print your zine or book you should totally check out Eberhardt Press. Charles from Eberhardt does all our zine printing and the guy's work is always solid. We chatted up Charles and got the scoop on what he does...
Q: For folks unfamiliar with Eberhardt, tell us what kind of services you offer...
Press is a small not-for-profit publishing house and print shop. No one
here is actually named Eberhardt -- the press was actually named for
anarchist adventurer and writer Isabelle Eberhardt,
an inspiring woman who passed away more than a century ago. We print
books, zines, cards, bookmarks, posters, fliers, and anything else
people need. We do offset printing exclusively, no digital, and no
letterpress (even though we sure do love letterpress). However,
Eberhardt Press shares a shop with two screen printers who can
accommodate any screen printing needs people may have, so our building
is kind of a one-stop shop for printing. Eberhardt Press also has a full
suite of bindery tools. For job printing, we specialize in print runs
between 200-2000 copies, and we are more than happy to work with people
on custom or non-standard projects. Our goal is to serve the community
by providing affordable, high-quality printing services in a way that is
welcoming to people, because we believe that the literary and
journalistic tradition of small independent publishing is more important
than ever in the age of global digital media networks. (I will withhold
my long-winded critique of the internet, you've probably heard it
Q: How (and when) did Eberhardt get started?
Press rose from the ashes of a short-lived printing collective in
Eugene, Oregon, that had gotten a hold of an old Chief 117 one-color
press. The poor thing had been stripped down for parts and had a
molleton dampening system, which is kind of like trying to print
something with a pair of old socks wrapped around your water rollers.
One piece at a time the press was restored to working order, and
eventually was upgraded to a Kompac automatic dampening system. A
tremendous amount of printing was put through that press--more than
any one-color duplicator press should ever have to suffer. We're talking
millions and millions of impressions over a four or five year span. It
was a great workhorse, but has since been retired.
The operation was renamed Eberhardt Press in 2004 and moved to Portland that summer,
and piece by piece Eberhardt Press assembled its bindery operations,
shifting slowly from time-consuming hand work to light machinery that
was more suited to completing press runs of 500-2000 copies in a timely
fashion. At some point I got a hold of an old Bind-O-Mat 200, this
reeking, smoldering perfect binder with an exposed glue pot that
definitely took its pound of flesh. What a beater--at the end, it kept
catching on fire and electrocuting the crap out of me. Finally after
choking out one last book job it went to the dumpster, which was really
the best place for it to be.
Press has always been a publishing house as well as a job shop. Our
publishing efforts focus on printed matter that is of interest to
anarchists and political radicals, but the job shop is open to anyone.
We print all sorts of stuff for all sorts of people, mostly small
publishers, musicians, authors, poets, micro-businesses, activist groups
and of course other anarchists. During the past couple of years most of
the emphasis has been on job printing for reasons of survival, but we
continue to publish and reprint original titles as resources and time
Q: What kind of equipment do you use?
Press now has a 2-color Ryobi 3302 "Twin Tower" offset press, a true
two color press with a double impression cylinder. At the risk of
offending my pacifist friends, I often say this upgrade from the old
press would be like Snoopy upgrading from his imaginary World War I
biplane to an F-16. It enables much higher production capacity, much
higher quality and much better registration, and makes four-color
printing a reality, though it can still be tricky. Some of my Luddite
friends are horrified by the fact that it is of recent enough vintage to
have digital controls, but it's an extremely well-engineered and built
machine that I've been very impressed with (pardon the printer's pun).
All presses have their vulnerabilities and difficulties, but compared to
that calamitous Chief 117 it's usually a dream to operate the Ryobi.
Press also has all the basic tools of bindery--nothing extravagant,
just a bunch of decent used equipment that was picked up here and there
on the cheap. We recently moved up to an FC-10 collator, a high-capacity
10-bin machine that drastically reduces collating errors and greatly
speeds up that aspect of the bindery process. We
also have a Bindfast V perfect binding machine, which is a decent
tabletop machine capable of binding around 50 books per hour. It does a
reliable job, although it's nothing fancy by any means. For wire
binding, we have a manual 3:1 wire-0 binding machine, a great little
machine for making notepads and other lay-flat books like cookbooks. For
saddlestitch books, we have a Plockmatic bookletmaker in pretty good
condition that staples and folds booklets in one shot. Then they go to
the old Challenge Diamond paper cutter for trimming, an antique cutter
more than a century old that was reportedly used to cut all the phone
books for the Pacific Northwest during a previous lifetime. (I have no
evidence for this claim, and I was told this by a professional clown, so
take it with a grain of salt.)
of the prepress is done with a typical diy CTP (Computer-To-Plate)
system, specifically an iMac hooked up to an HP5100. The 5100 has a
high-temperature fuser element that really bakes the toner onto the
polyester plates that we print from, so that the image on the
lithographic plate doesn't deteriorate under the rigors of printing.
There's no RIP (Rapid Inline Processor) or anything like that--people
just send in their PDFs or we scan their artwork, then impose it in a
layout program and send it directly to plate with no intermediary
process, no chemistry or anything like that. This not only reduces
overhead, material costs, labor and toxicity, it also produces crisp,
clean images for text and black & white line art. For grayscale
photographs or screened artwork with subtle tones, this system is
sometimes inadequate, but we can also go to our service bureau to have
metal plates made if the tonal details in the artwork must be very
precisely reproduced, or when hairline registration is required.
Press uses low-VOC press supplies to reduce toxicity, and we have an
in-house ink recycling program as well for dealing with leftover ink.
Customers can get a small discount if they choose "Old Smokey," a
smokey-hued black mix that is 100% re-used ink, or they can choose
"Smokey 50", which is a blacker mix consisting of 50% re-used ink and
50% fresh black ink. Ink waste is a significant contributor to the
toxicity of a printing operation, so we try to waste absolutely as
little as possible.
Q: Tell us about how your collaborative planner with Justseeds came about?
geez, let me set the way-back machine to 2009... as I recall it, I had
done some postcard printing for Justseeds, and Roger Peet and I had been
throwing around some ideas for collaborative projects between Justseeds
and Eberhardt Press. I think he first proposed the idea, and I was all
for it right away. The first one, the 2010 Organizer, was really just an
experiment to see if such a project was viable. Roger's concept was to
provide people with a simple, clean, functional datebook-style organizer
for people to use, with some really beautiful but radical artwork. We
only printed 500 of them and barely managed to get them finished before
the end of February 2010, with considerable flaws in the printing
(luckily no one ever seemed to notice). But people loved them, and we
moved the whole print run. Last year we printed around 1100 of them and
they came out really nicely. I'm down to my last three datebooks now
from that press run, so this year we're going to do a slightly larger
print run and try to get them out there a little more widely, since
they've been so well received so far. The 2012 edition should hopefully
come out pretty nicely--the artwork from Justseeds is great as always
and we've cleaned up the layout a bit. Presswise, it's a real
undertaking, involving around two dozen spot color inks and around
35,000 sheets of paper, but it's a real joy to be able to work on a
unique project like this.
Q: What kinds of printing projects do you like to do most?
ones that come out right! Ha ha. Seriously, in terms of job printing, I
love printing standard-format zines of 64 pages or less, maybe with a
two color cover. We can get them done quickly at very high quality,
which always makes people happy. In terms of Eberhardt Press' publishing
efforts, the cards and ephemera are always really fun to put together--they aren't labor intensive, they serve people's practical needs and
they're beautiful. Pamphlets too--you can create them relatively
quickly and distribute them relatively inexpensively. Whether it's
radical literature or simply a blank book for people to record their
thoughts, its nice to know that the material you produce is being put to
good use, so whatever the project is it's always a privilege and an
honor to be able to work on it.
Q: What is your advice for someone who wants, say, 500 to 1000 copies of their zines and has a bit of money to have it printed?
everyone's on a tight budget these days it seems, but there's a lot you
can do without spending a huge amount of money. One of my favorite
things lately has been to add dustjackets to books and pamphlets that
ordinarily would never be wrapped in such a thing. It doesn't cost a
huge sum to print a dustjacket, and it opens up a lot of creative
possibilities. A dustjacket also makes a book seem special somehow,
perhaps because we traditionally associate dustjackets with hardbound
books. It conceals the staple binding on a zine's cover. You can fold
the center of a dustjacket to resemble a book spine, so that a staple
& fold zine suddenly can sit spine-out on a bookshelf and still be
identifiable, with the title printed on the spine--something that
works especially well with a heavy text sheet or light cardstock sheet.
You can print additional information or artwork on the inside flaps.
Using nice endsheets or printing on the interior cover can also be a
nice way to enhance the introduction of a printed work without adding
tremendous expense. Of course, a lot of people see the dustjacket as
nothing more than a glossy publisher's sales pitch to be discarded by a
worthy reader, something that gets in the way. But if you design it well
and use nice paper or great artwork, it can be an inexpensive way to
really make a project stand out. If the dustjacket seems like too much,
consider a simple paper band--it's less expensive and discardable, but
it gives you some options for making your project stand out on a shelf.
the issue of budgets and printing, lately one very problematic issue
has been the steep increase in prices for recycled paper pulp and the
resulting closure of so many mills specializing in recycled paper, such
as Gray's Harbor in Washington and Blue Heron near Portland, to name
just two. The paper and printing industry is under crushing pressure
right now, and I fear that due to the economics of trade globalization,
recycled paper will more and more become a luxury that expensive
projects may boast of, but which becomes less accessible to the average individual because
of excessively high cost. Most non-recycled sheets these days still
contain 10-30% recycled fiber content and are FSC-certified and all this
sort of thing, but finding affordable 100% post-consumer recycled paper
for general use in a variety of weights has rather suddenly become more
difficult and about twice as expensive. Of course, if you're just
printing on 20# copy paper, there are still plenty of options, at least
for now. And more and more tree-free papers are becoming available,
although "tree-free" does not always mean "sustainable".
I think the best way to invest in your zine is to use the best
materials possible. For anything under 36 pages, I'd go with a 70# text
sheet; it feels so much more substantial than a plain 20# sheet of copy
paper, and has much better opacity (less show-through from the other
side of the sheet). For anything from around 36-80 pages, a 60# text
sheet is usually suitable. Also, a nice cover stock can make all the
difference. Neenah Environment has a very nice selection of 100%
recycled cover stocks, and I like the Neenah Sundance Felt a lot also.
We use Neenah Classic Laid for a lot of covers and cards also. There's
also the Mohawk Loop series, which has a lot of recycled options, but
usually you either have to pay an awful lot per sheet or you have to
order unbroken cartons of parent sheets, which is inconvenient. But use
the best materials you can afford.
the method of printing is key to getting your best deal. For small
quantities, say 50-150 books, I have to admit that print-on-demand is
probably the most cost effective option. Your cost per book is high, but
there's not a less expensive way to print them. Of course, if you rub
the page with your thumb the toner will come off, but it's still your
most economical option for very small editions. Offset printing like we
do at Eberhardt Press is more suited to longer press runs--the longer,
the better. The smallest press run I recommend for offset printing here
at Eberhardt Press is 250 books, because the shorter the press run is,
the higher the setup costs will increase your cost per book. This is
true of all offset print shops, although most commercial shop won't even
touch a run of fewer than 500-1,000 books with an offset press.
Eberhardt Press specializes in print runs of 500-2000, so we'll give you
the best price possible in the narrow void that still exists between
print on demand and commercial offset printing.
Q: Finally, where can people get in touch to have printing jobs quoted?
Folks can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in contact, or see eberhardtpress.org for more information.