As we reported a few days ago, Ingram/Lightning Source has announced an incredibly cheap level of color print-on-demand, and Todd Allen has seen the samples:

Before we get into the numbers, let’s talk a little bit about the “Standard Color” format. It’s printed on 50# Glatfelter Pixelle Book paper. This is a very thin paper. Ingram’s “Premium Color” is printed on 70# stock that seems comparable to what IDW uses for titles like Popeye. Standard color is a little harder to describe.
DC uses a thinner paper for some of the reprint books like the Vertigo Swamp Thing or Hitman paperback collections Standard Color is a little thinner than that. Texture-wise, it reminded me of the slick feel of the newsprint comics of the mid-80s, except this paper is a bright white. If you look closely you can see a little bleed through from the opposite side of the page in some cases. The thinner stock mean less ink is absorbed and there is a little less pop on the color than in the thicker premium option. That may be overly nitpicky, but comics readers can be nitpicky at times.

I showed the samples to Brian Hibbs, owner of the Comix Experience store in San Francisco and he said “It’s absolutely satisfactory, with the caveat that I haven’t seen a larger, thicker sample of it.”

So yeah. This level of pricing for color POD has been promised for years and now its here, Allen runs through all the numbers for direct sales, Diamond and bookstore distribution and all but one of the models he runs is a money maker right out of the box.

While “Standard Color” won’t mean much for the high end publishers like D&Q and PictureBox, for webcomickers and everyone else, it’s a total game changer. Between this and Kickstarter no one will ever say no again.


  1. This can be a backup plan, if a Kickstarter campaign does not succeed.

    Also, as a publisher, you can always sell direct to the comics shops.

  2. When I first started my life in the comic industry I sold my self-published comic directly to comic stores. Either outright sales or on consignment. This can work even better now with this printing source.

  3. “The thinner stock mean less ink is absorbed and there is a little less pop on the color than in the thicker premium option.”

    The surface is what determines if ink is absorbed, not thickness. When ink does sink into the paper, it can appear more dull, not more bright.