I came across this post in a music forum. Somebody was putting together a compilation CD that would be a 2 disc set. They were wondering whether it would be more cost effective to print them off themselves or to get them done professionally. I posted a brief answer on that board, but I’ll dig into it a bit deeper here.
Let’s first try to assess the cost of doing a project like this yourself. They mentioned purchasing a CD printer to do this project and others in the future. If they were to invest in a printer, I would hope they get a high quality thermal printer and not an inkjet. Inkjet printing can smear and smudge when exposed to moisture. If you check out this site, you’ll see that these printers can range from $2,000 - $8,000.
Let’s move on to the discs. If you are using a high quality thermal printer, you will need to buy blank CDRs that are compatible and absorb the ink correctly. If you look here, you’ll see that you can get them for $0.27 per disc. At 3000 units, that would be $810 total. This is assuming you go with silver discs that do not print on the center hub. If you want white discs or discs that you can print all the way to the center hole, it can cost up to $0.44 per disc or $1320 total.
Moving on to packaging, you have a few different options: double jewel case, double digipak, or double sleeve/wallet. Let’s keep it simple and just go with the standard, double jewel cases. I found a site selling them for $0.30 per unit. That would cost $900 total.
The last thing you would get is the printed inserts for your project. Let’s assume you just a plain, 2 panel insert and traycard. I found this place where you can get 3000 copies for $610.
Let’s add up all of these tangible goods:
That’s a generous assumption for a few reasons. The first is that I assumed the most basic options (2 panel inserts, silver print-to-hub CDRs). If you wanted a larger insert or print-to-center CDRs, it will cost more. The second reason is that I didn’t include the cost of the CD/DVD printer. This is an investment, so you can’t allocate the total cost just to this project. Since I don’t know this piece of equipment’s lifespan, I couldn’t make a good estimate.
The last thing to consider is all the time and labor you put into this project. I really can’t put a price on ones time, but I’d imagine it’s valuable. You would have to burn, print, and assemble 3000 CD packages. Since they didn’t mention having any type of multi-drive duplicator, I assume their just going to be using the single drives on their computer. Once they are packaged, you’ll have to get them all shrink-wrapped or poly-wrapped. You could purchase a roll of the wrap and get a heat gun (or just a hair dryer).
This is a lot of time spent for some savings. You can get all of this done at COPYCATS Media or other professional duplicators/replicators (but I’d recommend COPYCATS Media). It will cost about the same, but save you all the time, effort, and frustration. You’ll also be getting higher quality, replicated CDs.
If you have a two disc project in the works, get in touch with our sales department to get a quote.