“I was hoping you could tell me the average size print-run for a community newspaper. What are others doing?”

-- James from Marion, NE

Hi James. Your question is common for those preparing to make their own community newspaper. We not only wish you the best, but we want to help as well.

To being, I am going to assume you are printing a monthly publication that you intend to give away for free. Your income, I am also assuming, will come from selling ads in your newspaper. This is the most common type of community newspaper that I see made here at MakeMyNewspaper. It will also probably be the one that gives you the greatest chance of success.

With that said, there is no average or common quantity that people get. They determine the quantity based on three factors. You will need to consider these factors to determine the quantity you need to get.

Demographic of Your Community

How many people are in the area you are trying to reach? This is a huge factor in determining how many newspapers to order. I recommend that you print 1 newspaper for every 5 people. So if, there are 50,000 people in your community, you may want to consider printing 10,000 copies.

Remember, the total demographics may not represent the total households in your community. The average household has 3 or 4 people in it, depending on the area. A 1 to 5 ratio is good coverage.

If the area you are trying to reach is huge, say 500,000 or more, you can widen that ratio to 1:10 or even 1:20. You can rotate which section of the city your newspaper is distributed, or just stick to the 1:5 and cover as much of the city as possible. The main factors in this aspect are your workforce, your time, and how you intend to distribute them.

Distribution Method

This is important. If you intend to mail them out (either Every Door Direct or to a specific list of addresses), then the amount of copies you print will be determined by what areas (zip codes) you are trying to reach. This will also drive up your expenses, so it may have an impact on your budget.

If you intend to make them available at key distribution points, you need to know how many you have (restaurants, offices, libraries, street stands, stores, etc) and the rate of distribution at each location. For example, if you put 100 copies at a restaurant, and it takes 2 weeks to run out, then in a 1 month span, your rate of distribution there is 200 copies. Not every location will have the same rate. Some are better than others.

You add all your distribution points up and the rate of distribution for each location and that is the max number of newspapers you should be ordering. If you feel need more, then you must first secure more distribution points.

Dollar Sense

Your budget is the last major factor you may need to consider. You need to determine how many ads you want to sell and for what price. This will give you an expected income. Then you look at the prices and try to determine where your best value is.

For example, at what quantity and price point allows you to print at 1 cent per copy or better? In our current pricing structure here at MakeMyNewspaper, this is determined by paper size, paper type, and page count.

Once you know this, this will also help you choose a quantity that fits into your budget. You need to consider all three of these major factors in making a decision, and in some cases, one or the other will be your ultimate deciding factor.

Hope that helps. If you need more help, you can see our list of helpful designing, content, and guide links.

Greg Baker is the customer service manager for MakeMyNewspaper. He has assisted thousands of people over the years in creating, designing, and printing personalized newspapers. Click Here to ask Greg a question of your own.

Giving a Voice to Everyone, One Newspaper at a Time

Start Designing Your Own Newspaper Now!