Monday, 18 March 2019

Ludocards Best EU based POD review!:)

Warning; Selfpublishers Only! Following text may be to much to handle if you aren't one!:)
scroll down to see pictures of printed decks & boxes!:)
Keep reading if you are in to *Print & Selfpublish your own deck & wish to know more about BEST EU POD I've find so far!:))

As promised here is my full review of EU (Italy) based Print on Demand company I discovered, 
official web page here; http://www.ludocards.com/
printing & shipping quotes here; https://www.ludocards.com/quote/custom-cards
& read all info at official faq page; https://www.ludocards.com/faq

Disclaimer; My English is Not Perfect & I will only review *services I used & all info presented here are just my opinion at this time according to experience I have feel free to agree or NOT & feel free to correct me if I'm wrong & if you have any doubt or questions about info presented here feel free to note me or best visit official web page & ask directly!:) with that said here is my review on ludocards POD !:)

if you have any experience with POD especially as publisher (my fav are US based; thegamecrafter & drivethrucards & China; makeplayingcards & printerstudio) you can tell this web don't look similar & there is BIG DIFFERENCE how it works so I'll try sum most of its *perks in hope you'll find it useful deciding is this POD for you as there is plenty of HOW TO differences here that may require some time to get used to I'm yet to try upgraded ludocards interface & will update this review soon!:)

back on topic;
"ludocards print service review & how it differs from standard POD we know (tgc/dtc/mpc/ps) & what you'll need to know to make it work for you;

1. Printing; ludocards will print *ANY number of cards & any size & there is no minimum number of decks you can print with ludocards!:) but more you print better your price per deck/box/book will be!:D & there is discount for larger quantities so that's good news for Selfpublishers!:) & whatever number of decks you decide to print you can ship it 2 ways;

2. Shipping, options;
A) default SHIP ALL your PRINTED DECKS AT ONCE TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS with FREE SHIPPING!:) or if you prefer;
B) DROP SHIPPING OPTION (expensive!:) but will let you ship any number of deck you have printed/left in store to different addresses worldwide with tracking number & best available shipping provider (DHL my fav!^^ more info here; http://www.ludocards.com/quote.php ) you will need to log in to your ludocards acc & click *Shipping button of your order & delete your default shipping address that is already there (Note; this is all from old interface im yet to try new drop shipping!:) best contact costumer service in advance/before placing your order & ask to enable your drop shipping option!) also Shipping button let you see status of your orders & add different/new shipping addresses by filling Ship form that also let you review how many decks you are sending to which shipping addresses & how much you have left in store for each of decks you print with this company!:) then you Checkout to pay for that shipping & wait your mail to arrive!:) Note; if you are selling your deck on etsy or your web etc  you can ask for API that would help save you from filling shipping form for each order (but not paying shipping each time!:) so expect my update here once I figure how to add these!;) facepalm but if you are already in EU & don't have problem shipping it yourself A) Shipping option may be best!;) or 
C)  i'm testing at the moment!:) in short it's using A) to ship All your decks at once for free to pro shipping service mailboxde.com that'll do further drop shipping job for you!:) read my full review here
back on topic ludocards ,,,

& good news combined shipping (sending several decks to same address) is simple when you have only 1 type of deck published!:) but if you have published several decks (like me!:) & have people ordering i.e 1 of each (wishful thinking!^^ lol ;) it may be bit complicated/turn but hopefully new interface is fixing that!:)  combined shipping is best as it don't make big cost difference to ship 1 or 10 decks!:) I find it awesome especially if you have more than 1 deck selfpublished (like me!:) & this bring us to
Most important & Main Reason i'm using this printer service because; ALL DECKS ARE PRINTED & SHIP FROM ITALY/EU SAVING YOUR EU COSTUMERS ANY EXTRA IMPORT CHARGES & POST COLLECTING FEES!:)


3. Creating your (publisher) account on ludocards is now simple!:D after that you can log in to your ludocards acc where you can review & modify your info & order details including Shipping details as well as upload print files & publish your deck!;D interface here is greatly improved but may need some time to get used to!:)

4. Print file preparation aka; "How to set up your card images properly" is probably trickiest part as you are expected to upload several separate pdf files (after you log in to your ludocards acc & click *Orders & *Open file list button) ;
1pdf with all images of your cards front saved as pages,
1pdf with all backs images saved as pages or just 1 pdf page if all cards in your deck share same back design!:)
& 1 (or 2 pdf depending on your option) for box design or you opt for no box or blank/white box or *special request sturdy 2 piece full print inside & out box option I used!:)

You start preparing your print files by inserting your deck specifications (mm or inch, card size & number of cards in deck & your box option!:) & downloading your auto generated templates here; https://www.ludocards.com/quote/custom-cards

Note; even it say: "will print any size" best to pick 1 of offered preset or keep it within *normal EU sizes (aka your card size numbers should be whole cm & mm as it's easier to print precisely!:)

if it seem complicated in my experience ludocards have good print control & you will be contacted by costumer service if they notice any possible printing mistake/disaster!:P ;)
but just in case be aware of mistake I noticed on their template generator page;
*Card design instruction button will tell you so called *bleed area (aka part of your card img that is cut out in printing process!) is 2mm on each card side but imo it's more likely standard 3mm as mentioned in their instruction pdf (I've asked costumer service to check with their printer service before uploading my cards pdfs for print & got confirmed it's 3mm but card generator template is still working with 2mm, will update this review moment it's fixed!x,x)

so here is how you determine your digital image card size in pixel & template you need to work; *your printed card size in mm (i.e standard Tarot is 70x120mm) +3mm of bleed area to each side adds total of 6mm to each of this numbers = 76x126mm converted to pixel = 898x1488px by 300dpi within this size you can see template red line mark 3mm from each edge representing line where your cards are expected to be cut in printing process (aka bleed) & another blue line 3mm from that one representing so called *safe area you should place all important card text & elements you wish to be visible after printing in case print end up off center (3mm drift is considered acceptable by most standard printers!:) you can download Tarot card 7x12cm & fitting 80 card special 2 piece sturdy box templates I've used here; http://fav.me/dd30ioa

Tip; be sure to remove that guideline template before saving/exporting your img or pdf!:)
you can also use Scribus to prepare your pdf for print!:)

also if you already printed your cards with gamecrafter /other standard printer that use 900x1500px Tarot size template you can drop these img over ludocards 898x1488px & 300dpi template (i.e in gimp:) & export as; png img or single pdf I find guidelines are compatible!:)
& if your pdf files are to large or you wish to fix cmyk specifications you can open your pdf in Scribus & export as pdf with these settings; (see attach img!)



& that's it for cards!:)

same goes for box design (download template, export your box design as pdf & upload to your acc!) 
& book as well!:)


5) Print quality;
default card specifications options all have rounded corners & print on *special 330 gr/sqm casino quality triplex paper (i'm told this is 330 gsm black core silk smooth paper) assuring zero transparency. Easy to shuffle and resistant to worn-out. You can also chose 350gsm whiteboard that seems to be popular Kickstarter option!:) or 300gsm if you prefer thinner cardstock.

Gilded Edges & Metalic print on card front back & box is also available!:D

& different boxes & book options make this Best EU Based POD at the moment!:D

ludocards offers plenty of card sizes & shape options including round cards as well as special materials including linen paper, PVC, & special effects gold/silver foil, as well as accompanying booklets or leaflets or other particular items, you will need to contact costumer service for any *special request quote  HERE.

You can also request print proofs & digital file check service as well as designer service or sample deck, all info here; http://www.ludocards.com/faq.php

best part; Ludocards.com is an eco-friendly company
Ludocards entire operations are powered by solar energy & printing procedure follows the strict standards of environmental friendly codes: the papers are not only premium quality but also CE certified and rigorously selected and supplied by European paper mills; the inks for printing are of food level; nearly half of our production is artisan process that is made with hands. We try our very best to look after our planet earth.


6) Production Time; How quickly will ludocards print your deck & when you'll receive your order?
depends on timing of your order (i.e it will take longer if you start this *printing adventure before Christmas like I DID!:) as well as how good your *print ready pdfs are!:)

Standard production time is 15 working days upon receiving the payment Only if all files of artwork provided are “ready to print”! Express services is provided at extra cost. Processing time don't include time required for delivery, which varies from 1 to 5 working days subject to destinations.
Ludocards is not responsible for any delays caused by the couriers.

Delivery date for your products will be delayed accordingly at your own responsibility for any delays in production caused by the errors in file formats, incomplete file submission and any other issues resulting in “not ready to print” files.

so if you are planing kickstarter or other project with fixed timeline best to confirm with costumer service all your files are *print ready BEFORE placing your Order?:) that may save you unexpected delays I got myself in placing my order in December 2018 then having to change my card size several times to get it fit standard 7x12cm Tarot template after noticing card template generator flaw (mentioned above!:) I still had it shipped in time of expected schedule by new year2019!:) & it arrived fast to France!:) but my reviewer say *default 2 piece box don't seem firm enough so I requested box upgrade to *rigid box ludocards was testing different designs at that time & then they were upgrading shipping providers as well so I end up ready to publish these before March 2019!:) but 2nd time I used ludocards it was all completed within 20days!:D as I was better prepared!^^

Now I'm Happy with my ludocards Tarot size cards & firm box print quality & fast Shipping service (DHL my fav!^^)

my only remark/wishlist is;
1. fix card size template generator! (bleed area is 3mm not 2mm!)
2. ludocardsStore (expected to open soon!;) &
3. drop shipping provider & cost calculation improvement
tip: best check your local shipping rates (if you are in EU) or use mailboxde.com & save yourself extra cost & nerves it'll take you to dropship?;)

& with this I conclude my review!:) Congrats for reading this long*cough*hopefully not too boring* text!;D  hope you find it useful!^^:) here is your eye candy pic gallery of my printed Tarot size decks & boxes!^^:) & if you need more than pretty pic check this Awesome youtube review!:)
& table review of Print on Demand Companies I've used with my opinion on quality of their service; 
 


Tarot deck 80c
& firm box!:)

ludocards

gamecrafter

drivethrucards

printerstudio

makeplayingcards

print cost &
quality
& extra options

Best production price & Quality +extra options!:) Gilded Edges Metalic Print Option Full Color Book Sturdy Box!:D

standard card quality linen & UV stock option +extra box & other option

standard card quality linen stock option
& tuckbox


5000 cards!:)

same as mpc
- effects & box options!x.x

standard + best selection of card stock options & effect including holo & gold edges etc+ box options including Tarot size tins!:) ok for printing +100 decks!:)
too expensive otherwise!x,x

discount @

+1 decks!:)

100 decks!


best for printing 60 Tarot decks & up!;)

shipping cost & quality

fastest shipping!:)
& FREE SHIPPING to your home address but only if you ship all your printed decks at once!:)
 expensive drop shipping!x.x
see here;
https://www.ludocards.com/quote.php

Ok for US & International
extra options
UPS not perfect!x,x

fast & ok for US & your home address, Not for International!x,x
check it here https://support.drivethrucards.com/hc/en-us/articles/207347643-Estimated-Shipping-Costs-For-Printed-Products

ok












same as mpc

ok pricing & service, charge extra for *insurance BUT tracking is lacking & your only protection is paypal https://www.makeplayingcards.com/shipping.aspx

production time

3/5 days

3/15 days

5/7 days

5/12 days

shipping time

Best!;)

ok

ok

ok

ok

traffic/exposure

no shop option yet!

best

ok

not much

costumer service

ok & helpful!:)

annoying & not always helpful?;)

Best & my fav!:)
Brian is King!:)

ok & helpful!:)

ok when you are asking about ordering info, not ok if lost parcel /other issue


 

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