PrintNinja Help

File Setup

How do I upload files?

Our prepress department will accept and review your files after you pay for your order. To get started placing an order, visit our instant price calculator.

There are two ways to submit your files for review:

  • If you complete your order using our instant price calculator, you’ll automatically be prompted to upload your files.
  • If you have a saved quote in a PDF, there is a file upload link on the quote PDF.
  • Consult our file upload walkthrough if you’re having trouble locating the upload link and want more information on what to expect.

    We strongly recommend you visit our file setup checklist to format your files correctly and ensure the prepress process is fast as possible.

    What format should my files be in when I submit them?

    We request that you submit multi-page PDF files. Before submitting your files, we strongly recommend that you use our file setup checklist. A few hours of preparation with your files will save you days of prepress time!

    Reference your binding type for more information on submitting your files:

  • Saddle-Stitched: Submit your multi-page PDF in reading order starting with the front cover as page 1, the inside front cover as page 2, and proceed from there. The back cover will be your last page.
  • Perfect Bound: Submit your multi-page PDF starting with the inside front cover as page 1 and ending with the inside back cover. Format your cover file using our softcover, perfect bound cover template.
  • Case Bound: Submit your multi-page PDF starting with the pasted down inside front cover as page 1 and ending with the pasted down inside back cover. Format your cover file using our hardcover cover template. Format your dust jacket file separately with our dust jacket setup template.
  • Board Book: Submit your multi-page PDF starting with the inside front cover as page 1 and ending with the inside back cover. Format your cover using our board book cover template.
  • Wire and Spiral Bound: Submit your multi-page PDF starting with the front cover as page 1, the inside front cover as page 2, and proceed from there. The back cover will be your last page.
  • Alternative Formats: If you cannot submit a multi-page PDF, we also except Photoshop (PSD) files, InDesign (IDD) packages, TIFF files or JPEG files, although PDF is our preferred format.
  • File Submission: There is a file upload link in your quote. Consult our file upload walkthrough if you’re having trouble locating the upload link or if you want more information about the file upload process.
  • Do you have artists on staff to help me design my book?

    We do not have in-house artists. Fill out this form if you need help getting in touch with someone who can help, and we’ll reach out to you shortly.
    Looking for a children’s book illustrator specifically? See our guide here.

    General Printing Questions

    Do you print custom playing cards?

    Yes! We can print fully custom cards, or we can also print your design, photos, logo, etc. on the back of one of our standard poker deck templates. Visit our playing card printing page to learn more.

    Do you print custom card games?

    Absolutely, and most custom card games can be quoted immediately on our card game calculator. Custom sizes, packaging, and specialty options make it easy to design your game just the way you imagined it. Visit our card printing page to learn more.

    Do you print flash cards?

    Yes, and you can use our calculator to quote them. This is a great option for educators who want to sell a unique learning tool, or professionals who want to make tools to help onboard their customers or employees. Most flash cards have a unique front and back on each card, so when you’re using our calculator, make sure to enter 10+ when it asks how many card backs you will require. Visit our flash card printing page to learn more.

    Do you print custom tarot decks?

    Yes, and they can be can be quoted immediately on our card game calculator. Custom sizes, packaging, and specialty options make it easy to design your cards just the way you imagined them. Visit our tarot card printing page to learn more.

    Do you print board games?

    Yes, and it’s now easier than ever to quote your game with our custom quote request tool. Our board game quote form is a great place to browse our options, configure your game, and get ideas. We offer fully custom packaging, so there’s no need to shoehorn your game into a predetermined set of box sizes. Visit our board game printing page to learn more.

    Will offset printing accurately reproduce my colors?

    Due to the complex nature of reproducing a full spectrum of colors by blending four colors of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), all four-color printing is subject to some small degree of color variance. This means that specific colors may look slightly different from the beginning of a run to the end of the run, and differences become more pronounced between different runs.

    Four-color offset presses can reproduce colors far more consistently than digital or print-on-demand presses, but the blending of inks means that there will always be some variance. This variance is most noticeable between different runs of the same project.

    For individual colors that need to be consistently printed, like a corporate logo, we recommend spot color ink. In this process, instead of using four separate colors of ink applied by four printing plates, the ink is mixed separately until it exactly matches the desired color, and is applied via a separate printing plate designed to apply only this single color. We match your color using the Pantone Color Matching System.

    How should I store my books?

    Ideally, you should store your books in the boxes they were shipped in, which are sealed and therefore more protected from environmental fluctuations.

    After opening your boxes store your books at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, in a space with 30%-50% humidity, to avoid warping.

    Maintain a stable environment, which doesn’t experience temperature changes of more than +/- 5 degrees Fahrenheit or humidity changes of more than +/- 3% relative humidity in a single 24 hour period.

    Will all of my books be defect free?

    PrintNinja guarantees that your order will be free from defects within a 2% variance. Our quality control staff catches most defects before they leave the factory, and most orders actually ship with more copies than ordered.

    PrintNinja Process

    What’s the minimum order quantity (MOQ) for custom cards?

    Our MOQ for card games is 500 units.

    What if my card game needs extra components, like custom packaging, a playmat, or dice?

    There are few ways you can quote this. If your card game requires extra components, we recommend visiting our board game quote form. Once you use the form to specify everything you need (including the cards themselves) we’ll get back to you with a custom quote. Alternatively, you can submit a custom quote request, or if you have a custom quote from a competitor, just email it to us and we’ll use your specs to quote your game.

    Can you print my photo or artwork onto a standard deck of poker cards?

    Yes, we offer a few different poker deck templates. All you need to submit to us are the photos/designs you’d like for the back of the poker deck. Let us know which card artwork you’d like for your deck, and we’ll do the rest. We also offer card templates where you can add a photo or artwork to the front of the card, in which case you’ll need to submit files for both the card backs and the card fronts.

    What other resources do you have for creating games?

    Many of our customers who print card games are using Kickstarter or another platform to crowdfund their game. We have a Crowdfunding Toolkit for games with some great advice and resources to get you through the entire process. We also have templates to help you configure your artwork. We also highly recommend you subscribe to our blog because we frequently add great content for game creators.

    What are the standard specifications for a poker deck?

    Visit our recommended specifications on our Industry Standards page.

    Do you print custom sizes?

    We do! Most sizes can be custom quoted on our pricing calculator. If either of your book dimensions are smaller than 4″ or larger than 17″, you’ll need to request a custom quote.

    For cards, we have a few standard sizes, but you can also quote custom sizes right on our card pricing calculator.

    Why has the price on your website changed since I last used it?

    Our prices are subject to change based on the changing costs of materials, printing vendors, and shipping vendors. We recommend you save your quote, which guarantees your price for 90 days.

    What’s your return policy?

    We are committed to your satisfaction! We have printed millions of copies of books and games for happy customers in our ten years in business. Our Satisfaction Pledge guarantees your project will be free of any technical or production errors.
    If your project has a printing error, we will make it right through reprinting or refunding your order.

    Please note, this does not include artwork or content decisions, as those are 100% up to you (e.g., typos, low-resolution images, etc.) We guarantee that we will reproduce the files you give us accurately and faithfully.

    Will my books pass safety tests?

    Yes, our printing meets CPSIA, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and Conformité Européenne (CE) standards.

    However, you’ll need to get your product individually tested if you plan to sell your book or game to a young demographic through a retailer (without testing, you must label games for ages 13+). Additionally, if you don’t live in the United States, you’ll need to make sure your product meets safety requirements designated by your country.

    Learn more about our toxicity testing.

    Do you have templates available?

    We do have layout guides available, however in most cases we recommend that you set up your files yourself after reading through our artwork setup guides.

    How long does a board game quote take to complete?

    We quote board games in about one week. Complex games may take additional time.

    Visit our quote walkthrough that addresses common board game questions, or start your board game quote now.

    Do you offer hard copy proofs?

    Yes, we have several physical proofing options depending on your project type. We advise that you get a hard copy proof if you are concerned about how the colors will print, especially in you are converting from RGB colors on your screen to CMYK colors in print. Please note that hardcopy proofs will add to your total cost and turnaround time.

    For books, your hard copy proof sheet is one offset-printed parent sheet, which for most projects (9in x 12in or smaller) means eight pages of content. Larger projects can only fit four pages on a parent sheet.

    Learn more about our proofing options, including electronic proofing.

    We also offer proofs for games.

    How long does a custom book quote take to complete?

    Custom book quotes usually take 48 hours, however very complex quotes may take additional time.

    Before requesting a custom quote, see if our instant calculator can handle your project. The online calculator will provide you with a quicker and often less expensive quote.

    However, if you don’t see what you’re looking for on our calculator then contact us through the custom price quote form.

    How long does a custom freight quote take to complete?

    You can request a freight quote through our instant calculator. Once you input your project information and calculate your shipping cost, you will see an estimated shipping weight. If the weight is higher than 2500 lbs, our calculator will provide a freight forwarding option. If your weight is lower than 2500 lbs, we recommend our standard or expedited shipping options. Orders larger than two cubic meters in size benefit financially using our freight forwarding network. Almost all of our large orders use this option.

    Freight forwarding typically takes an extra week to arrive compared to our standard shipping option.

    There are no tracking numbers available with a freight forwarding company as there are with UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

    Can you print fewer than 250 copies?

    We cannot print fewer than 250 copies because we exclusively offer offset printing. The set up costs and time associated with offset printing do not make it an affordable option for fewer than 250 copies.

    We recommend Chicago Pressmen for digital printing and print on demand, which is better suited for smaller print runs. Please note, Chicago Pressmen does not make hardcover or board books.

    Can you print adult content?

    We cannot print pornographic, copulatory, and some nude content due to Chinese law. If you’re unsure whether or not your content can be printed, please contact us and we’ll give you a definitive answer.

    Do I have to put “Printed in China” in my book? Why?

    Yes, international law requires all printed materials manufactured in China must include “Printed in PRC” or “Printed in China”, printed in legible (8 pt minimum) font in a text color that adequately contrasts the background.

    Do you provide proofreading services?

    All content decisions are at your discretion. If you’d like help finding an editor, we can put you in touch. Start by filling out this form.

    PrintNinja Shipping & Turnaround

    How long does it take to get my cards?

    Once you approve your proof, you can expect your card game to take 3-4 weeks to print, and then 6-8 weeks to ship. We also offer expedited shipping which takes about 2 weeks. US and International holidays can affect these timelines, so be sure to visit out our turnaround time page.

    What is my turnaround time?

    Your turnaround time includes prepress, production, and shipping and will vary based on your project, but will add up to anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks.

    Calculate your turnaround time.

    How long does shipping take?

    Expedited shipping typically takes one week. Standard ocean shipping typically takes five weeks. Please note that we cannot guarantee standard ocean shipping times because there can sometimes be delays as your shipment goes through customs. Our standard expedited air shipping times are also not guaranteed.

    However, we can use a guaranteed form of air shipping for an additional fee. Guaranteed timelines need to be confirmed with your account manager before you place your order to ensure that we can meet them.

    How much does shipping cost?

    Shipping costs depend on your project’s size, weight, destination address, and shipping speed. To calculate your shipping, fill out your project specifications with our instant calculator. Next, you will be prompted to select your shipping speed, at which point we can calculate your shipping costs.

    Can you ship to every country?

    PrintNinja can ship to many countries around the world. We can quote door-to-door orders to the US and Canada through our pricing calculator, and we can quote door-to-door shipping to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand via custom quote. Simply select “Request a shipping quote,” after selecting your project specifications.

    For other countries, we can usually provide an FOB quote via custom quote, but you may have to contract a local shipper and customs broker as well.

    We cannot ship orders to certain countries due to political instability and other factors.

    Can you guarantee a delivery date?

    Sadly, we can’t guarantee standard ocean shipments, due to elements out of our control. Random customs inspections, weather events, and holidays like Chinese New Year can disrupt project shipping timelines.

    Our standard, expedited air shipments are also not guaranteed. However, we can use a guaranteed form of air shipping for an additional fee. Guaranteed timelines need to be confirmed with your account manager before you place your order to ensure that we can meet them.

    Why are all your shipping turnaround times approximations?

    International logistics can be incredibly complex. Our standard ocean shipments have to travel halfway around the world and clear customs in both China and their destination country. Events out of our control such as random customs inspections, weather events, and labor disruptions can throw off even the most carefully planned shipping schedules.

    When shipping via air, we have somewhat more control over the process, and we can purchase upgraded shipping to provide guaranteed delivery dates for an additional fee, as long as you verify your timeline with PrintNinja or your account representative before placing your order.

    Where do you ship from? Can I pick up my order from your store?

    We will ship your project from our factories in Shenzhen, China. Factory pickup is available on request.

    Why are your turnaround times so long?

    PrintNinja does all of our printing in China.

    Shipping is the longest aspect of determining delivery times. Ocean shipping takes five to six weeks to travel from China to most U.S. destinations. This timeline is subject to delay because of customs inspections, inclement weather, and port labor disputes.

    If you’re in a hurry, we can expedite part of your order via air. Please note that expedited shipping only pertains to your shipping timeline, not the production of your project.

    Is my order delivery date guaranteed?

    PrintNinja can offer guaranteed delivery dates for our expedited shipments for an additional charge, as long as your schedule has been confirmed with your account manager before you place your order.

    Other than these select situations, PrintNinja’s shipping times are all approximate. Ocean shipments can never have guaranteed delivery dates under any circumstances.

    There are two main reasons for this. First, the ocean shipping portion of the shipping process can vary depending on weather and other factors. Second, once your order arrives in the United States, it must pass through U.S. customs. Although this is typically a smooth process, it is also outside of our control, and sometimes containers may be flagged for random inspection, adding days or weeks to the shipping time.

    All that said, you won’t have to worry about dealing with U.S. customs or freight carriers during the customs process, we handle all that for you.

    For other countries, exceptions may apply. Contact your account representative for more information.

    Can you use my UPS/FedEx account number to pay for shipping?

    Unfortunately, PrintNinja is unable to use any outside account numbers when shipping your order. International shipping is a complex process, and it is very easy to run into problems when billing to an account we have don’t have access to. Our shipping volumes are large enough that our rates with UPS are very competitive, so it is likely that shipping will be cheaper through our account.

    We offer a couple of options if you still want to bill to your account. If you ship your order FOB (Free On Board, requires custom quote), then we will help get your order from our factory to the port in Shenzhen, China. From there you can arrange to ship the rest of the way using your account. We can also ship EXW (Ex Works, no extra charge), which means you would arrange pickup directly from our factory and schedule the full shipping on your end.

    PrintNinja Payment & Orders

    What are your terms of credit?

    PrintNinja accepts all major credit cards, as well as PayPal, and requires payment in full to begin work on your project.

    Is there a discount if I reorder my book with you?

    We do not currently offer a discount for reorders since the reorder requires a completely new print run and will incur all of the same setup costs as your previous order(s).

    Where do I pay?

    You can pay through our pricing calculator, or through the payment link in your saved quote.

    Once you have submitted your payment you will receive a follow-up email with your receipt.
    Prices shown on our quotes are in USD and include all taxes and duties for delivery to addresses in the USA. Orders delivered to other countries are subject to any applicable taxes and duties charged by the destination country.

    What forms of payment do you accept?

  • All major credit cards and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • PayPal
  • Check, mailed to our Evanston office: PrintNinja 1603 Orrington Ave. Suite 1500, Evanston, IL 60201
  • Wire or bank transfer for orders over $10,000. Contact us for information about wire or bank transfers.
  • What credit and debit cards do you accept?

    PrintNinja accepts any credit or debit card with the Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card logo.

    Why isn’t my card being accepted?

    If you’re having trouble submitting your payment via credit card or debit card, we recommend that you try the following steps:

    • Confirm that the credit card number you are entering is correct, as well as the billing ZIP code and security code. Keep in mind that sometimes the billing ZIP code may be different from your home or office address.
    • Confirm that the amount of your order is less than your daily limit.
    • Confirm that the amount of your order is less than your total credit line.

    My card keeps getting declined. What should I do?

    Declined transactions could occur because of a few reasons:

    • The card number, ZIP code or security code is incorrect.
    • You’ve capped your daily spending limit (please note some financial institutions calculate this based on a rolling 24-hour period, while others reset the limit at a specific time every day; contact your financial institution for details).
    • You’ve exceeded your overall credit limit.
    • Your financial institution has detected that your payment does not match your typical spending habits, and automatically prevented it.

    Please note that for privacy and security reasons your financial institution does not inform us why your transaction failed. Please contact your financial institution directly to resolve any issues, or try one of the other payment solutions mentioned in section five of the FAQ.

    Please note that after authorizing a flagged transaction you will typically need to submit your payment again. Most banks do not process previously declined transactions after you approve them—your authorization simply will prevent future similar transactions from being flagged.

    What if I can’t get my credit card limit or daily transaction limit raised?

    If your total purchase price exceeds your daily purchase limit or your total credit limit and your financial institution cannot increase it temporarily or permanently, you can split your total purchase price among multiple cards or over multiple days.

    We will set up these transactions manually, so please contact your account manager to use this option. Let them know what your limitations are, and they will email you several links for payment. You will need to pay each one separately, either using different cards or on different days.

    Please note that we cannot begin processing your order, including any prepress until the total order amount is received successfully.

    Do you accept non-U.S. cards?

    Yes. As long as your card is a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card we should be able to accept it. However, please note that all currency is in U.S. dollars and, depending on your cardholder agreement, may be subject to foreign transaction fees or other fees, which are your responsibility.

    Does PrintNinja accept wire or bank transfers?

    For large orders (generally over $10,000) we may accept a wire transfer directly from your bank. Contact us for details.

    Can I change my order once it is placed?

    It depends. Changes to your order may be accommodated within a very short window (approximately 24 hours) after your proof is approved. After this timeframe, our print team has started working on your project. After work has started, you can change your job, but there likely will be additional change fees involved depending on how far into the production process we are. Any changes will also likely change your delivery date.

    If you discover a problem with your file or need to change your order, please notify us as soon as possible.

    How do I change my shipping address after placing an order?

    Please call us as soon as possible if you require a shipping address change to avoid any delays or additional fees.

    For standard ocean shipping orders, we can usually change shipping addresses until after your order has cleared customs in the US (generally about a week before delivery). Please note that changing your shipping address may change your total shipping price.

    For changes to expedited orders that have already shipped, you must contact the shipping carrier directly.

    Can I cancel my order?

    We will be happy to stop your print job at any point in the process. Contact us right away and we can determine how far along our order is into production. Next, we will alert you what the charges will be (if any) for the amount of finished work and will credit your credit card account accordingly.

    Can you modify my documents?

    We can make modifications to your files for a small fee. The exact cost will vary depending on the extent of the changes needed. Contact your account representative for details.

    Will my file materials be returned?

    This used to be a common a question, but we don’t hear it much today! We do not return any form of artwork or materials unless you specifically request it by calling our customer service department at 877-396-4652. Customers are responsible for any shipping costs.

    How do I check on the status of my order?

    Need to know the status of your job? You can email us at customerservice@printninja.com or call us toll free at 877-EZ-NINJA (877-396-4652). Just give us your job order number and our customer service staff will be able to track your order and let you know the status.

    We will also email you whenever significant milestones occur in your order, including your order being approved for production, production being finished, and tracking information becoming available.

    Please note that tracking information is not available for ocean shipments until your project clears customs in its destination country (typically 1 week before its arrival to you).

    How does PrintNinja track orders?

    PrintNinja uses order numbers to identify and track every print job as it moves through the PrintNinja system, from file submission to production to shipping. An order number is automatically assigned to your print jobs, and we use this order to track, locate, and verify the shipment of your print jobs, and keep track of other pertinent shipment details.

    What kind of communication will I receive after I place my order?

    You will be receiving several updates from us with information about your order including a confirmation on receipt of your order with a job order number assigned, confirmation your order is being processed once we review your files, notification when the proof is ready (if requested) and shipment notifications.

    How do I find my order status?

    Do you need to know the status of your job? You can email us at customerservice@printninja.com or call us toll-free at 877-396-4652. Tell us your job order number and our customer service staff will be able to track your order and let you know the status.

    We will also email you whenever significant milestones occur in your order, including production approval, completion, and tracking information.

    Please note that tracking information is not available for ocean shipments until your project clears customs in its destination country (typically one week before arrival).

    How does PrintNinja track orders?

    PrintNinja uses order numbers to identify and track every print job as it moves through the PrintNinja system, from file submission to production to shipping. We will use your automatically assigned order number to track, locate, and verify the shipment of your print jobs, as well as, keep track of other pertinent shipment details.

    What kind of communication will I receive after I place my order?

    You will receive regular order updates from us via email at every step of the process. If you would prefer another contact method, please let your account representative know.

    About PrintNinja

    What is PrintNinja?

    PrintNinja is an American-owned and managed printing company that offers economic, high-quality printing for all our client’s custom printing needs. We have been in businesses since 2009.

    We have an office in the US that handles customer service and prepress, and an office in China and other countries that handles our vendor sourcing, quality assurance, and logistics.

    Learn more about us and our process.

    How long have you been in business?

    PrintNinja is part of a group of companies. Those companies and the managers that run them started buying printed goods in the United States in the early 1980s and from China in 2003. The online print shop, PrintNinja, started in 2009 as a way of helping customers take advantage of our great Chinese and global print sourcing network.

    Where are you located?

    PrintNinja is a company based just outside of Chicago in Evanston, IL. This office is home base for our customer service, prepress, marketing and web development teams. Our Chinese office is located in Shenzhen, China, and handles print buying, quality assurance, and logistics.

    Learn more about us.

    Other Questions

    Is there a non-profit discount?

    PrintNinja provides the lowest possible prices and is not able to offer additional discounts to non-profits.

    Is there a reseller discount?

    PrintNinja provides the lowest possible prices and is not able to offer additional discounts to resellers.

    Do you sell ISBNs?

    We do not. Buy ISBNs at www.ISBN.org, the agency authorized to sell ISNS. If you buy from a reseller, they will be considered your publisher.

    Do you sell barcodes?

    We do not, however you can use a free site like this one to generate your own once you have an ISBN. Make sure the final print version is at least 300dpi or it may not scan correctly.