As a self-publisher (aka: niche publisher, or micro-publisher) selling books, you will eventually get involved with selling your information in booklet form. These booklets can be from one sheet of paper, up to several pages long. Selling information this way tends to be more profitable than the books. These short booklets can be created from the information contained in your book. These booklets can be sold or given away as a way to build interest in your other books.
One format for selling this information is with documents that have been laminated with a baked-on plastic cover (called a pouch). In this article I want to discuss laminating one-sheet documents. In our case, we call them “laminated study guides”. Because it is a study guide, and is probably going to be handled many times, being laminated becomes an important reason for students to purchase our study guide. We also sell these same documents as downloadable pdf’s (ebooks) without the lamination – for a slightly lower price. We call these “downloadable study guides”.
My first taste of self-publishing involved creating study guides for the students that we teach. We needed to provide a handy and practical way for our students to memorize and study the class material. So we created a one-sheet (two pages) study guide that included a lot of information in an easy to follow format. By filling both sides, we were able to condense a large amount of important information into a very small space. We included this one-sheet study guide as part of a much larger (32 page) study guide that covered the study topic in much more depth. The students loved them. Word spread and we eventually began getting requests for our short study guides from students and teachers from all over America. That’s when we decided to offer our one-sheet study guide for sale on Amazon. So we made this study guide beautiful to look at, and then laminated them.
How Does Pouch Lamination Work?
There are two types of pouch laminators. The best and most common type is “hot lamination”. Hot lamination pouches are two sheets of plastic (polyester based) laminating film into which the item to be laminated is placed. The two plastic sheets are attached at one end so that they stay perfectly aligned with each other. The two sheets have an adhesive resin layer that is activated when they are inserted into a hot-lamination machine. You would simply insert your document into the pouch, keeping an equal space all around the document. You then insert that pouch into a paper carrier, which protects your laminating machine from the plastic pouch. You then place the entire package into the pre-heated lamination machine. The rollers inside the machine squeeze the entire package as it is being baked. The finished product simply comes out the back-side of the machine. You then remove the package from the carrier and quickly lay it flat. It completely cools off in a few minutes.
The second type of lamination is called “cold lamination”. This type is much less common. Cold lamination is generally used for heat sensitive documents. Cold laminating pouches use a “sticky” adhesive that is activated by pressure instead of heat. This allows you to laminate items such as photos without damaging them with the heat that would be needed for the hot-lamination method.
What Size Pouches Are Available?
The lamination pouches come in every imaginable size. Before you buy the pouches, you must decide if you want the four corners to be rounded or squared-off. The rounded typically looks better. The squared-off corners tend to get bent or folded over. The squared-off corners can also cause cuts and scratches to anyone that handles the finished lamination. Also, make sure that you buy a laminating machine that will be wide enough for your needs.
Another important consideration is thickness. The lamination thickness is measured in “mils”. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch. The most common pouch thicknesses are 3, 5, 7, and 10 mils thick. You must decide which thickness you will most likely be using before you buy the laminating machine. Many machines can handle two thicknesses. The most common sizes are the 3 and 5 mils thickness. The thicker the pouch is, the stiffer it will be after lamination.
Another important consideration is the type of finish. Lamination pouches are typically available in “gloss” and “matte”. Gloss is the most common and most popular type used. The gloss really makes a document look very nice and professional. Matte is less reflective and has a slightly granular look.