Starting a Photo Book Printing and Binding Business

As photo books are “in” these days, print-on-demand businesses offering design, printing and binding services have a good potential to succeed

Many say the Internet is killing the publishing industry which in turn affects the printing industry. However, many continue to believe that the printing industry is still bullish, especially now that the photography, photo book printing and wedding industries are consistently growing. Filipinos remain fond of taking photographs and keeping mementos, and bookworms still flood the bookstores for nice picks.

One can start a print-on-demand business offering personalized printing and binding services to photographers, corporate accounts, schools, self-published authors, and photo book enthusiasts.

For starters, it is advisable to purchase less expensive digital laser printers like Fuji Xerox’s ApeosPort IV C4470/33/70/2270 that costs around P450,000 to P700,000 or the DocuCentre IV C2260 that costs around P350,000. With these machines, services like faxing, emailing, scanning and photocopying could also be offered. Depending on Fuji’s assessment on the financial capacity and SEC registration of the company, it could offer a leasing option of a 12-month to 48-month leasing arrangement with down payment of 20 percent.

If capital outlay is not an issue, purchase the high tech printers such as the Fuji Xerox FX4112 which allows you to do everything from layout to binding using a single machine.

For those who want to start small, you need to purchase aside from the printing machine, the following: a computer set, software, binding machine, laminating machine, and die-cutting machine, or a less expensive manual paper cutter.

Materials and Equipment

  • Paper
  • Cover material
  • Laminating Films-Roll, depending on the size
  • Laminating machine
  • Printing machine
  • Electric Binding machine
  • Manual Paper Cutter
  • Computer Set

Step 1. You can include layout and design in the services that you offer as part of the package. You can download free design software from the Internet, or purchase from known distributors. Other customers may just ask for printing and binding services such as for self-published books, school and corporate yearbooks, etc.

Step 2. After putting the photos and texts in place, set the number of pages and the paper size in the printer.

Step 3. Choose the right paper for your product, as the right quality of paper is critical in the printing business. Will you use coated matt, coated glossy or C1S paper? Aside from the type of paper, the thickness has to be suitable to the product and to the printer. According to Karen Ong, general manager of Prestige Paper, wrong paper selection not just affects the quality of print outs but also causes most technical problems in the machine.

Once the papers are in place, start printing.

Step 4. Before binding the materials, you may or may not laminate the cover material. Lamination gives the cover a glossy look, and also adds protection.

Step 5. For binding, there are actually desktop thermal binding machines available in the market. The Tacho-Plus Perfect Binder GS5310 machine can do perfect binding. It’s fully automated that can do scarping, gluing and covering by just pressing one button. It can bind books up to 60mm thick and can finish 300 books per hour.

To bind a photo book using perfect binding method, preheat first the machine for 30 to 40 minutes. Put the cover material in place, on the left part of the machine, then set the inner pages in between the steel clamp. Press the button to start the machine. Notice that the inner pages pass through two wheels that put the glue. Then the machine sticks the pages to the cover material that is being heated underneath.

Step 6. Remove the book from the binding machine.

Step 7. Cut the three sides of the book using either a manual paper cutter or an electric guillotine machine.

Use only 60gsm to 256gsm paper on Fuji Xerox DocuCentre color multifunction machine. Anna Penaflor, Fuji Xerox’s product manager recommends non-coated paper for these type of machines.

On choosing the right paper

  • Choose the kind of paper that is heat-resistant or laser compatible.
  • Get a supplier that can give you consistent quality of paper.
  • To avoid confusion, always specify your paper weight in gsm (grams per square meter) not in lbs, which is used only in North America.
  • Decide whether to use A sizes or inches. A sizes are measured in centimeters.
  • The paper should be suitable to the printing method, i.e., offset or digital color printing.

On handling your paper supply properly

To avoid blisters, store your paper where your printer is located at least 24 hours before use so that the paper can adjust to the room temperature.

Use a palette when stacking your papers. Don’t put your paper on the floor.

Always seal the package after getting paper supply.

author: By Mishell Malabaguio,, photo from


  1. By Randall Bergonia


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *