Getting your hard work into print is the goal of your yearbook team but yearbook publishing should not be taken lightly. You want to find a publisher that is reliable and has a good reputation for top quality products and services. There are many, many publishers out there, though, so how do you find the right one? Here are some guidelines for finding a yearbook publisher.
Set a Budget
Very few yearbook clubs have an unlimited budget, so you need to know what you can spend and where to draw the line. Once you have a figure in mind, you can research various companies and target ones that fall within your price range. Many yearbook publishing companies offer different publishing packages at different prices so you should be able to find something that works.
Having a budget will also help you control your costs on different parts of the publication process such as the cover, software, binding, color versus black and white photos and other components of your yearbooks. This way you know where you stand at all times.
Variety of Publishing Plans
Having access to several different publishing plans give you the freedom to make choices based on creative preferences or budget – or both. Look for a company that gives you several different options for publishing your yearbook. For instance, they may have a plan where you use their software, another where you use some type of desktop software and yet another that is more old school where you manually attach pictures to sheets, commonly referred to as the “scrapbook method.” These plans may be set according to skill level, budget constraints or personal preference. Whatever the case, look them over well and make sure that at least one of the plans fits your vision for your yearbook as well as fits your yearbook budget.
Tips and Tutorials
Does your yearbook publishing company offer tips and tutorials? That can be pretty important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the software or you have never put together a yearbook before. The quality of the information is important too because all the information in the world isn’t going to help you a bit if you don’t understand it or if it is difficult to access. Give it a dry run before making your decision. Read through some of the tips and tutorials to see if they make sense to you and to make sure you understand them.
Good Customer Service
Another very important component to look for is good customer service. Does the company have several ways that customers can get in touch with them? Ideally, you want your company to have at least one phone number and an email address. A fax number is also a plus. Look for buttons or links that direct you to different departments. For instance, there may be a link to a form or email address if you want a quote, but a separate contact method if you are having a problem. The more ways the company has for you to contact them, the better.
Once you have narrowed down several companies and are ready to make your decision, take a little more time and see what their customers are saying about them. Read the reviews of each company. Check out the customer testimonials as well as independent review sites and see what the people who have used the service are saying about the service. Keep in mind, though, that rare is the company that will not have any poor reviews. Carefully read any negative reviews. Is it something that may have resulted from the customer not using the service properly? That is a common occurrence. Even if it was clearly the company that was at fault, if there are only one or two negative reviews amongst many positives reviews and the positive reviews have recent dates, you are probably pretty safe in going with that company.