How do you select a yearbook company?
Selecting a reliable yearbook company is crucial for creating a memorable and high-quality yearbook.
Consider these factors when choosing to ensure that the company meets your school’s financial needs and reflects your school’s memories and achievements.
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What is your school’s current contract situation?
What is your status?
Evaluate your existing contract, including its duration and early termination penalties. You usually are only bound to a company if they have produced a product for you (cover, end sheets, signatures) or provided a service (workshop, creative artwork) for that year.
Questions about the yearbook company
Determine the location of the printing company.
Is it essential that the yearbook company is in the United States? Where will the books be printed? Will the distance from the plant to the school cause any shipping delays?
Determine the financial and production situation of the company.
Does the company currently have any financial problems? Have they been experiencing quality control issues recently because of rapid growth or internal matters?
Questions about the physical yearbooks
Ask questions about the paper stock.
What type of paper stock does the company use? Do they use 80-pound or a higher quality 100-pound paper? Can you select a matte or gloss paper? Can you use various paper stocks within your book?
Ask questions about the cover weight.
What is the standard cover board weight? Does the company use a 98, 120, or 160-point binder board?
Ask questions about cover materials.
What materials and applications are included? What is not included? How much should the school expect to pay for upgraded cover charges?
Is a custom-designed cover included?
Can you design your cover, or must you use a standard cover?
Will art services be included?
Will the company provide a cover artist to help you create your cover? How is this handled?
What is the average turnaround time from proof to delivery?
What does the company estimate production time to be? What did other advisers experience last year? Search or ask for information within the various yearbook Facebook groups.
When do you need to provide the final production numbers for your book?
Are you required to submit your final copy count in the fall, winter, or early spring? Can you wait until your final deadline to inform the printer how many books you want to order?
When is the latest date you can alter the number of pages in your book?
Offset and on-demand printers will have different timetables for determining when you can adjust your page count. Make sure you understand when your deadline will be.
Determine if the company can print a supplement for you.
What will the supplement cost? Will the supplements have tape strips to be inserted into the books, or will they have a self-cover? What is the estimated cost? How about minimum orders and cost? When is the deadline? How long does it take to be printed? How about shipping? When will they be delivered?
Can students personalize their yearbooks?
What options exist for students to customize their books? Can books be name stamped? Can you buy nameplates? Can students have their customized pages or cover in their yearbooks?
Will the representative provide an adviser budget worksheet?
Will the rep agree that the school will only be billed if the adviser approves a charge on the worksheet?
What is the minimum order requirement?
Are you required to buy a minimum order of books, or can you purchase what is necessary to fulfill your parent orders?
Can you buy extra books if needed after the initial order?
If you need more books, make an error, or want to redo a page, how difficult is it to purchase additional books?
What happens if there are errors in your book?
How simple is it to make corrections if something is wrong in the book? If the company makes the error, how will it compensate you?
Questions about the yearbook representative
Is the rep local or remote?
If the rep is local, how often will the representative meet with you?
If the representative provides in-person support but not local, how often will they visit you during the year? Will it matter if the representative is local, or is it only necessary for the rep to show up as scheduled?
If the representative offers remote support, how often are they willing to meet with you?
If the rep provides local support, will they also provide you with online support?
What kind of support will they provide? Will they be able to answer questions, or must they defer questions to another party?
How much support do you expect to receive from the rep? Will the representative’s services be worth the extra fees you pay for that support?
How easy is it to contact your rep? What is his response time? When can you contact the rep? Will the rep respond at night or on the weekends?
How much experience does the representative have with yearbooks? Is he seasoned or new to the job?
Does the representative have acceptable knowledge of the hardware and software used to create the page layouts? Can the representative help train you and your photographers to take better photos?