I've fallen in love with the format I've been using in the past three of four posts. Today's image is a 12" x 36" print that comes from Costco. (A major "big box" warehouse chain in the US.) A couple months ago a friend showed me a couple large pano prints. They looked spectacular and I figured he'd spent some big bucks for the print. I'd seen them on some of the online sites for about $16.00 each. Well, when I get hold of something I typically like to push the boundaries and end up with dozens of examples of whatever it is I'm infatuated with at the moment. $16.00 isn't bad if I were going to play with one image, but the thought of ending up with a stack of 12 x 36's at double digit prices each sort of made me pause.
I ran into the same friend a couple weeks ago and he said his prints had not been expensive. In the discussion he mentioned he'd had them done at Costco. I told him I'd never seen that offering on Costco's website and asked what was up. He said he'd discovered it quite by accident. It's only available (at this time) in store. That does make it a little more of a hassle, but I've tried to time getting the prints to the times when we actually "needed" something there.
So what's the "deal"? A 12" x 36" print at Costco is $4.99. With tax it's a few cents above $5.00. I can't print it at the gallery for anywhere near that low a cost. It's more than $125.00 for the ink to feed the 13" wide printer. Three feet of paper probably runs me $6.00 plus. (A 32' roll goes for about $63.00.) If the printer screws up or I don't like the look of the print I'd be multiplying the cost by however many times I want to run a sheet through the printer. Yikes! If Costco's printer throws up, or the print looks too magenta, I don't care. With the printer hiccupping they'll reprint it automatically and I'll never even see the goof. If the color's off, or the paper has a ding in it, or any other "store error", I can point it out to the folks running the machine and they'll try to fix whatever was wrong. (Within reason I'm sure, but friends have said they have had things reprinted two and three times before they got the "perfect" print.)
A five dollar print is nice, but something to keep in mind is that a frame for a 12" x 36" print will set you back anywhere from $40.00 to a couple hundred dollars. Something to keep in mind for the next show you'll be in.