Poking around Alibaba

Poking around Alibaba

This post is somewhat related to Print Shop Review: Mixam US.

For my In Another Universe book, I wanted to use the typical manga-esque paper — creamy or grey, textured, thin, but dense.

I had little luck finding printers that offer such paper in the US, so I looked across the Pacific Ocean.


Whooo wheeee. This place is intimidating.

There's a ton of companies, many catering to other companies, meaning high minimum order quantity (MOQ).

What you pay for is what you get, so don't look for the cheapest company.

I searched for other artists' Alibaba recs, but the vast majority were for merch like acrylic charms, enamel pins, plushes, bags, and clothing.

For comic books, I had the help from a friend who gave me possible recs from her own searches. Sometimes we saw comics books from other Webtoon Canvas creators in the listing examples, so that was cool.

Horror Stories

Many individual artists have shared stories of trusting a company, only to discover their designs stolen and used for mass-produced items.

Others have experienced unprofessional and unresponsive company representatives. Or an artist would recommend to another artist a company with glowing reviews, only for the other person to have terrible experience.

But these experiences aren't only limited to companies on Alibaba, so definitely do some review digging on any manufacturers.

My Experience

I had sample prints done at two companies, Fuzhou Yintuan Printing and Shenzhen Longyin Printing.

I haven't tried Round Color Printing (Shenzhen) or Hangzhou Jiayuan Colour Printing, but I saw two fellow Canvas creators use them to print their comics.

Printing the sample book was about $70 USD each, with expedited shipping.

Fuzhou Yintuan Printing

This company was one of the lowest priced printers I found, so I gave them a go. And...

This is how the book came, bent into a tiny box.

I contacted the rep about it. While they were quick to reply, they were also quick to deflect until I sent them multiple photos as proof.

Then the response I got was that they outsource the packing? or something like that, and that they'll talk to the packing company about it. No apologies or offers of credit back.

I was put off by the conversation and didn't want to continue with this company.

Shezhen Longyin Printing

My sample from this company was pricier, but sturdy. I really liked how it felt in my hands and — very important — how the paper smelled lol.

I must commend the rep here, because they were very helpful and attentive during the entire process.

I initially wanted quotes using the newsprint paper, assuming it was the closest alternative. While the Fuzhou Yintuan representative never said anything, the Longyin Printing representative explained why that paper wouldn't be suitable for comics, even providing photos.

Upon sharing the type of paper I was seeking, the rep sent me multiple photos of papers they had that seemed similar to my search. They even explained & recommended stronger bookbinding techniques that wouldn't cost me extra.

I was going to spruce up the cover design and commit to ordering with this company. But unfortunately:

First, the lamination in the bottom right corner started peeling, so I thought I may have been too rough in handling it. Then soon, all the corners started peeling. Yikes.

In the end, I went with a different company for its shiny paper, but I'd still recommend reaching out to Shezhen Longyin Printing, if only for the super kind rep.

The videos the rep sent me showcasing some of their printed comics for other artists looked great, so maybe my sample book just had something wrong.



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