MSR Printing/Binding Services

Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001
704-573-2516, contact us


Introduction / Services / Pricing


What is Main Street Rag?


In 1996 Main Street Rag Poetry Journal was an upstart 40 page poetry journal, stapled together with a gray card stock cover. We started much the same way as many literary magazines: a dream, no experience, and a credit card. It was a hobby. We knew from the beginning we wanted to build something that would evolve and last. That meant declaring ourselves a business and learning to do things that were beyond our original goals.

By 1998, we were producing saddle-stitch chapbooks. In 2000, we purchased binding equipment and by 2001 we were a full fledged printing and binding facility that not only produced our own books and magazine, now called The Main Street Rag. Our first focus focus is publisher, but we also produce books and magazines for hundreds of other publishers, self-publishers and university presses. Regional print shops bring their printed projects to us just for our binding expertise.

Our focus now is perfect bound books, literary paperbacks. We can design, print, bind, and ship projects for others just as we do for our own titles.



At Main Street Rag Publishing Company, we know what it takes to succeed in the small press. We're not just another printer, not just another press, we are publishers. We're involved in everything from start to finish with our magazine and our books and we can help you with yours.


* Design & Layout
* Pre-press Preparation
* Binding & Finishing
* The Intangibles


Design & Layout

Almost everyone has an idea about how a particular project should look. Getting it there is where most problems arise. While there are many computer programs on the market to create a publishable format, not everyone knows how to use them and not all of them are press friendly.

We can help. We can set your project up from hard copy or file or reformat your files to something more press friendly. We have worked in everything from Word, Word Perfect, and Publisher to PageMaker, Quark, and InDesign. For images we are capable of using Corel, Freehand, Illustrator, and PhotoShop. And we can work cross-platform (MAC & PC), but we prefer files be saved in PC format and our program of choice for design is InDesign.

We can do all of your job or only the part that you feel comfortable farming out. We have years of experience in the design and layout area and we work quickly, efficiently, and economically. Some clients use MSR Publishing Company for design and set-up only. Others just for binding. Let us help you where you need help most.


Pre-press Preparation

Some projects arrive already set up, but not ready for press. Pre-press preparation includes checking your native files, linked images, and formatting files into PDF format so it will flow easily through the printing process.


Binding & Finishing

What prompts a publishing company (or press) to buy its own binding equipment? It can't be cost. Consider how long it takes to get the equipment investment back when you're only publishing your own projects.

It has to do with control: control of quality and control of time.

Over the years as a publisher, Main Street Rag Publishing Company has worked with several different printers to produce our magazine and book projects. We have learned to ask one question up front: How long does it take to go from file to finished product?

Trial and error taught us that people would make promises they could not keep--so we always added at least five business days to what they said and presented the job early. Still, we had problems getting a job when we wanted it. On one occasion, it took eight weeks from the time one printer received the files to the day we received our books--even though they advertised five weeks.

The very first time we ran The Main Street Rag ourselves, the entire job took 21 days--but that included 14 days we built into production between printing covers and printing the insides--just in case. The actual production time was 26 hours for 1100 books.

We specialize in short run perfect binding (which we define as under 1000 books). If you are a small press, you know there are hundreds of options out there these days. Most are POD (Print on Demand) which translates into laser insides and laser covers. We like the convenience and speed of printing the insides of our books on a high quality laser printer, but we're not crazy about laser covers. Our process calls for something better.

Main Street Rag is a hybrid of traditional printing and POD. The insides pages are printed on a laser printer, but our covers are printed with real ink on an offset press. This gives us a variety of coating options that are not always available for laser covers. We think this makes for better quality as well and we're into quality.


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Many people ask about pricing first. Rates, obviously, are a major concern, unfortunately each job is so unique, with so many variables involved, throwing out general numbers is not effective. Therefore, we don't keep a price list or brochure and we don't post this information on our website. They only serve to confuse prospective clients.

Each job must be priced on an individual basis and we will do so by email or phone. Please note: while we will provide a ballpark by phone, we prefer making quotes by email and only guarantee quotes made by email due to the convenience and ability for both parties to keep dated copies. When possible, we try to provide quotes the same day they are requested.


For the purpose of rendering a quote, the factors that most directly effect a project's costs. To receive an accurate quote, the items listed below are what we will need to know.

1) Design. If you send us your project as properly formatted PDF files, there will be no set-up fees; however, most PDF files cannot be adjusted, so we do not take responsibility for formatting errors made by the designer. A properly designed project will have one file for the insides and one file for the cover.

A print-ready hardcopy must still be shot into a computer. That process starts at $35 and goes up depending on manuscript length, page size, and number of images. Images need to be shot separately and charged separately at a rate of $4 each.

If you send Word or Publisher files, there is a minimum $35 conversion fee. Often these file formats have difficulty being converted to PDF or going through a RIP correctly and the project may need to be reset in another program.

Setting up a booklet. We've adjusted our rates on book set-up.

Basic cover design starts at $50/cover and increases at $35 increments--depending on adjustments.
Inside design starts at $100 for a 5.5 X 8.5, chapbook size (40 page) project. A basic set-up includes up to 5 scanned images. Each additional scan or image adjustment is $4. 

There is no limit on the quantity of images and no charge for any images that are supplied in the required format and proper resolution.

2) Printing (inside). Most important factors: Number of pages, dimensions of book, quantity of press run, type of paper, b&w or color inks and are there any bleeds.

3) Printing (covers). Most important factors: Quantity and dimensions, printing on both sides, how many colors of ink (we do b&w and 4-color process), cover stock, and type of coating (varnish or laminate). Bleeds may or may not be a factor--depending on the dimension of the project.

4) Binding. We've decided to specialize in perfect binding. It has a cleaner more finished look than saddle-stitch and experience has taught us that our equipment can bind as few as 2 sheets of paper to a cover which makes saddle-stitching obsolete. 

Most important factors: Dimensions and quantity. For clients who only wish to use our binding services, whether a project arrives collated and whether you are doing your own trimming will also effect pricing. Maximum cost: $1.50/book with a minimum charge of $35.

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The Intangibles

Why choose Main Street Rag Publishing Company?

Because we do what you do.

We deal with the same concerns as you--time, quality and affordability--in the production of our own projects. We can help steer you toward producing the best possible outcome that your budget will allow.

Give us the opportunity to work with you. We're confident you will be pleased with the results.

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Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001
704-573-2516, contact us