Sourcing Newsprint for Digital Printing

Hi all,

I design a monthly newsletter for a local book-shop. It’s black and white, 11x17, folded in thirds. We’ve been printing it on a lightweight text stock, but the bookshop owner has requested for more of a newsprint-style paper, so that holding and reading the newsletter really feels like reading a newspaper. He says the current lightweight text stock makes the newsletter feel too precious, like a wedding invitation :rofl:

The local print shop where I get the newsletter printed doesn’t carry newsprint, but they say I can supply my own paper as long as it’s “rated for digital printing”. I’ve started poking around the internet but I am not sure where to start. If I buy newsprint from an art supply store, I am sure I will overpay. ULINE sells it, but I can’t tell if it’s printer-safe. They mention using it for packing.

Where would other people look?

Newsprint usually comes in big rolls for web presses. Sheets of the stuff are too thin and flimsy for most sheetfed purposes. You might be able to find newsprint-like paper in more common text weights, but I’ve not heard of a printer pushing back on a client to find paper stock.

They’re the experts, and they’re the ones with the connections on where to buy it. If you’re working with a small corner quick print shop, though, you might be dealing less with experts than you are with people who mostly just know how to run their equipment and keep the costs down. They might even be passively telling you that they don’t know any place that sells sheets of newsprint and wouldn’t know if it would work with their equipment if they did.

Local distributors usually sell paper stock at wholesale prices to printers. Have you checked to find a paper distributor in your area? Have you tried calling them? Like I mentioned, the printer would typically do this, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same.

How many of these newsletters get printed each month? A couple of hundred? Two or three thousand or even more? If it’s over 1,000, you might try calling a few commercial offset printers to see if the quantity is cost-effective for offset and if they can get and handle heavier-weight sheetfed newsprint.

Unless you’re printing upwards of 10,000-plus copies, web printing isn’t likely doable, but web presses are my only experience with newsprint.

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@Just-B This whole thing is a pretty tiny operation—a giveaway piece for an indie bookshop. For issue 1, we printed 100 copies. Even if we start printing more, we are still very far away from printing offset.

But that is a good idea, to call to call a local paper distributor and see if they have something that can fake the look and feel of newsprint but still get sheetfed. Thanks!

I’d be looking for another printer. ‘You go find the paper yourself.’ Would have all sorts of alarm bells starting to ring.

The other thing to consider, if your client wants to achieve an authentic newspaper feel, is that digital print will never quite achieve it. It is not a wet ink process, as such, so doesn’t really soak into the stock, giving that flat inked look. It’s more like a toner process, so sits on the surface of the paper and has a sheen to it. I’ve never tried it on anything like newsprint, so can’t say, from direct experience. Then, I suppose, it’s the compromise you make for the fact you can do affordable short runs.

I don’t know much about these services but there’s a few places online https://www.printnewspaper.com/ was one of the first that popped up with a simple search.

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That’s an interesting option. At first, I was skeptical that their on-demand printing would be on actual newsprint, but the page below says it’s on 60gsm newsprint but is heavier and whiter than the cheap recycled stuff most newspapers use.

It looks like they have some sort of digital web printer using the big, standard-sized rolls of newsprint. Their prices aren’t cheap, though.

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As I said - I don’t know much about them or their service. I just found it with a quick search.

There’s another one here Print and Digital Newspaper Printing Prices | MakeMyNewspaper

We do this every once in a while with newsprint in our HP aqueous plotter. To make fake newspapers for historical museum exhibit dioramas (not artifact cases.) We get sheets of it 24 x 36 and feed it by hand into the sheet feed on the plotter.

I just checked though and the case is gone, it’s just in a stack on the shelf out there getting itself all pre-foxed, LOL! I’m fairly certain we get it from our cardboard supplier though

Edit, yeah, here we go. It’s the same stuff you mentioned.
In no way shape or form does this say it is suitable for digital printing.
https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-13759/Newsprint-Paper/Newsprint-Sheets-24-x-36?pricode=WB0760&gadtype=pla&id=S-13759&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8Lah0Zf58AIVDqjICh2lTgjjEAQYASABEgIL1_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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Just-B, Smurf2, and PriniDriver gave you some great options. I would like to add one thought. If push comes to shove and you cannot find a viable actual newsprint paper option, you might think about checking stock photo websites for a newsprint background photo. Then, with this photo of blank newsprint paper under your regular black type you could accomplish the same look and feel. That way, since it is a tiny print job, it might not cost you much more to get the job done effectively. Maybe the other guys on this forum who do a lot of actual printing might have some input on this possible method.

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