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Why are we the lowest prices for calendars?

Every day we speak to new customers that are really happy they found us.  They often ask how we can sell the calendars at rock bottom prices and offer FREE SHIPPING, FREE SET UP, & FREE PROOFS.  It’s simple.   

1. We offer special pricing over the internet only. 

2. We have no salesman commission to pay.

3.  We have low overhead.

4.  We sell in high volume.

5.  Our factories are centrally located in the Midwest so we can ship economically anywhere in the US.

6.  We don’t have to charge sales tax.

We are so confident we have the best price anywhere we offer a low price guarantee.  That way our customers also know they are getting the lowest price. 

It’s a winning formula for both us and our customers.

Spiral Binding vs. Saddle Stitched Binding

What is a “saddle stitch” anyway?  Saddle stitched calendars have been around for about 20 years.  They consist of two staples that are applied in the fold of the calendar between the pictures on top and the date pad below.  This process of binding was developed to save time and money. 

Spiral binding has been around since the 1930′s.  A spiral binding maching takes the coallated calendar sheets and punches holes at the top of the calendar.  Then a small gauge wire is “coiled” through the holes in a spiral.  The ends of the wire are cut and there you have a spiral bound calendar.

Now how do you decide which to use?  The spiral bound calendar is a little more expensive, so if price is a factor take that in to consideration.  Some people believe the spiral bound is more of a “retail calendar” look that you see in bookstores.  These retail calendars usually sell for between $8 to $15 each. The spiral bound calendar will hang flat against the wall as soon as it is opened up.  If you are mailing your calendars the spiral bound calendar does not mail as flat as the saddle stitched calendar.  The saddle stitched version is the most economical style and mails flat.  The saddle stitched calendar takes a little while (usually about 1 month) to “relax” and hang flat against the wall.  Another factor is what your customers like and expect.   Currently the saddle stitched is slightly ahead of the spiral in annual sales, primarily due to the cost savings.  Aren’t you glad you have a choice?

Why are there Overruns and Underruns?

A question we often get regarding printing of calendars has to do with overruns and underruns.  Although our calendar factories try hard to print and ship the exact quantity ordered sometimes that is not always possible.  As in any printing process there is a chance that some calendars will not be printed perfectly or are damaged in production, although this is somewhat rare.  Calendars are visually scanned to see if there are any misprints and if there are they are discarded.  To allow for this usually up to 10% extras are run through the press, because it is not cost effective to go back and reprint just a few calendars.  Even with this allowance sometimes more are discarded than planned for, resulting in an underrun.  Equipment is getting better all the time, but perfection is still not there yet.  The 10% overrun/underrun benchmark is an industry standard.

Spiral Binding vs. Saddle Stitched

There are two primary forms of binding calendars.  The original form used is called Saddle Stitched.  It is used on wall calendars, from minis to full size calendars.  It involves placing two staples in the center of the calendar along the horizontal fold or crease.  Some people worry that the staples will pull loose.  With the equipment being used today to stitch the calendars this is not a valid concern.  Saddle stitching is the most economical and therefore the widest used form of binding calendar pages together. 

The second form of binding is called spiral binding.  This process begins first with punching small holes along the top of the calendar.   Then a thin wire is woven through each hole in a circle to form a “coil” and cut off at the edge of the page.  This requires specialized equipment that today is fully automated.  This binding costs more to produce due to equipment, material, and labor costs.   Retail calendars, such as the calendars sold in bookstores for $10-$15, are almost exclusively spiral bound because the sell prices can support the spiral binding cost.

So what’s best for you?  The first question to ask is are you going to be mailing your calendars?  Spiral bound calendars add to the profile of the envelope and can be more easily damaged in handling by the Post Office than saddle stitched calendars.  If you are going to be handing out your calendars spiral binding becomes more attractive if your budget allows for the small extra expense.   The biggest concern for saddle stitched calendars is how they hang on the wall.  The difference here is that the spiral bound calendars come out of the carton ready to hang flat.   Yes, saddle stitched calendars will have a tendency to have a slight bend in them when they first are hung on the wall.  But what you will find is that after being up about 30-60 days they hang flat against the wall the same as spiral bound calendars.   Saddle stitched (stapled) calendars are the most popular style by a wide margin, primarily due to the cost savings.

Custom Calendars

The idea of putting your own pictures on a calendar has always been popular.  That is until people saw the price.  Usually the quantities were smaller, and with the equipment available it was cost prohibitive.    As developments in presses came along, the pricing started to drop.  Today there are digital presses that can print very high quality calendars and still keep the prices down.   And don’t think because the prices have dropped that the quality has dropped also.  Most people can’t tell the difference between a digitally printed calendar and an offset printed calendar.  And with quanitities as low as 50  we can accomodate 99% of the marketplace.  This is the fastest growing segment of the calendar business.  We know that most of our customers are not experts in printing, but we are.  That’s why we will help in the design and production of you custom calendar project.  Give it a try… you might be surprised how easy it is.

Early Order Discount

We offer what is called a 5% Early Bird or Early Order discount for calendar orders placed by June 30 each year.  The idea behind this is to “spread out” manufacturing over 12 months.  Many calendar users wait until October, November, and December to place their calendar orders.  This stresses the system and can cause delays at all points of  the process-order entry, typesetting and composition, manufacturing, and shipping.  So about 15 years ago the concept of offering a discount as an incentive to order early was tried.  It was a hit and has been offered ever since.  Some customers are not aware that Early Ordering does not necessarily mean Early Delivery.   Once the calendars have been produced they can be placed in to storage at no additional charge and shipped out in the fall at a time chosen by the buyer.  So for the best prices remember to order your calendars early.

Calendar Corner Introduction

For my first posting I would like to introduce myself.  I am Steve Dixon and have 32 years in the promotional products industry.  I have done advertising for Fortune 500 companies such as Sun Micro Systems, Suzuki, IBM, Bar-S Foods, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.  However, the past 10 years I have trended toward a specific product line…Calendars.  That has afforded me the opportunity work with firms from sole proprietors to larger size firms, and everything in between.  I will be focusing on news in the Calendar industry and how to best utilize calendars in an advertising campaign, along with new products.  I hope you will find this information worthwhile and give you insight in how to best use your hard earned advertising dollars.


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