Etsy, Zazzle and Print-On-Demand Services

I gave all my Zazzle cards, which I won at auction not knowing they were Zazzle, to a group co-moderator who collects them. I received a TouchNote card a few weeks ago; registered it and into the trash it went.

I’ve used Vistaprint for printing an unofficial GF design I’ve made. Quality of paper was OK for the pricing ₹140 for 20 postcards (≈$0.095 per card). Here is the unboxing video (caution: poor quality video :grin:):

I’ve heard Canva has started offering printing services which includes postcards. Haven’t tried it yet.

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I love buying cards from Etsy, especially from small local card designers. The quality is often very good and you usually get very unique card designs. Plus I sort of collect artist’s business cards and usually people sent those with my orders from there. I haven’t used a service were you could print your own cards though, sounds pretty nice. Especially for viewcards of my city. The ones in the stores here are pretty limited and it’s very difficult to find those ‘single view’ cards people usually wish for. Plus, for some reason the back of the single view cards I always buy is very annoying to write on with any kind of pen. It’s weird, so I might definitely try and order some nicer single view postcards with a picture of my city I took myself.

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I started Postcrossing during the lockdown here in England, so all my initial postcards were bought online. I really like buying from Etsy as I can support local artists or designers and you get something a bit different. The printing quality has always been excellent. The only issue is that the quality of the card they’re printed on can vary and a small number of cards I’ve bought from Etsy have been a little too thin - although I’ve sent them anyway and they have arrived, presumably intact. Here are some of the popular cards I’ve sent that I got from Etsy:

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My question is, someone printed the postcards you buy in tourist shops. So if on the back it doesn’t have a third party printing logo, it’s well printed, the card is sturdy… Who is going to know? Lol, all cards start somewhere.
If an artist made a card and self printed, then you bought it, is it still self printed? I see nothing wrong with sturdy hand made or self printed.

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I have scoured our local businesses for good city cards and the ones I found are BORING! Geez. I have purchased most of my cards from Zazzle and only had a couple where the quality was lackluster. I used them as size templates for making homemade cards.

I have been experimenting with printing my own with Zazzle. My husband is a rockstar photographer, so I have used a couple of his images and some were awful but some were great. I think most of the quality issues were due to my lack of editing skills.

I live in such a rich and vibrant city with so much going on. I can’t believe that the postcards available are all people have come up with for us. Blech. So I am going to take pictures myself and practice until I get some great postcards for Dallas and Texas! I honestly don’t think you can tell the difference - it is professionally printed. I edit the image and have test cards sent to me until I am happy with it before I ever send them out.

I am just spreading my opinion all over the place recently. You’re welcome. :roll_eyes:

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After many frustrating trips to find interesting postcards of New York at the local souvenir and card shops, I decided to print my own photos on Zazzle postcards. I haven’t gotten them yet, so I can’t say anything about the quality, but they’re going to be a lot more authentic than the commercially printed ones. For someone who doesn’t want a Zazzle card, I keep a supply of the touristy ones that cost 10 for a dollar.

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After frustrating attempts to find stadium and lighthouse postcard in Hong Kong I decide to take photos by myself and print them in shops as well :sunglasses: and also map card and Chinese zodiac animal cards. I draw and print them in shops since it is not uncommon.

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I think the key issues are the copyright and the quality of cards

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With lockdown active here, Zazzle has been a fun and interesting source of cards. Overall, I think they look nice and there are certainly a huge number of options which helps with the many variable needs of other postcrossers. I’m always on the look out for new places and I’ve recently placed orders at a number of online retailers, looking forward to seeing what everything looks like when it gets here.

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I’m so excited at the moment, because I just ordered a ton of postcards from several local small businesses on Etsy. Since these are often a bit more expensive than the postcards I usually buy (also from a local business, but that one has a varied online store) I only treat myself to them like once or twice a year, but I just love buying postcards with original artwork from people. Might be hoarding them for a while before I finally find the perfect person to send them to though :sweat_smile:

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I just received my first card from zazzle.
Which was this one

The design is still available:

The quality is really good. I do like the matt finish of the card. I see absolutely nothing to complain about.

I also received this selfmade card

It was printed on kartjee2go and is also a good quality. It feels exactly like a normal store bought card.

If someone explicit asks for no such cards, I would accept it. But overall I see no problem sending or receiving such cards.

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I think I have received one Zazzle card and to my mind the quality wasn’t great. Etsy on the other hand I can only recommend. In the spring, I sent an official to a Latvian postcrosser who is also a photographer and sells cards and stickers with her own designs on Etsy. I ordered a batch of cards and stickers from her and they are really high quality. :heart_eyes:

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Etsy is going to be highly variable, depending on the seller. They will all be printing them through different services or their own printers on different weights and types of paper.

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I have ordered only from Ifolor in Finland. It’s ok, but I don’t like their printing style, as it leaves the black on top of other colours, but this appears in some store bought cards, so it’s about the printer.
I would recommend, but wait for a sale, to get them cheaper.

I have receiver a lovely Zazzle card, with a smooth matte finish.
But also one with distorted image, like a photo taken of a normal card, and then printed with wrong measurements. Some have the (in my eyes) weird writing side, with largish zazzle with thick line, but some have removed them and made the lines thinner. And store bought cards have not so nice writing sides too.

I have received card made with xxlposter (?), and these are really good quality.

Personally I love :heart_eyes: to have postcards that are made from senders own photo. If I could choose, I would like to have a card everyone has taken themselves, from their favourite place in their city/village etc. or a view taken from their way to work.

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I have a boat load of cards saved on Zazzle for future purchasing, but haven’t gotten around to trying them.

The one online shop I did buy from on Etsy sent a card that was much too flimsy for traditional mailing and didn’t have anything on the back to indicate it was a postcard at all. Fortunately the card was for personal exchange with a friend and it is now on display in my Hamilton collage:

I try to be respectful to people’s wishes for non-[insert these type] cards, but beyond the “no putting card requests in your profile” rule, is there a PostCrossing guideline to the type of card sent? Like is there a rule stating Zazzle or Moo shouldn’t be used? I’ve seen a few ads on the main PCing page for postcard sellers, but I believe most sell through Etsy.

Short answer is, no.

A postcard is defined as a card that can go through the mail without an envelope and one side may or may not have a photograph or illustration. The definition does not specify where the postcard should be printed, what the topics of photography or illustration are, whether it’s homemade or not, what specific materials the postcard should comprise of, or its size and shape, among other things.

People can state whatever preference they want in their profiles, but just because they hate a type of postcard doesn’t mean that that type of postcard is automatically deemed not a postcard. (It’s sort of like saying you hate grapes, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t still classify it as a fruit.) It’s up to you how you want to deal with people’s preferences, but just know that for Postcrossing, you aren’t required to bend over backwards for super picky people.

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I use Zazzle a lot, and have been quite happy with the quality of the cards, overall. I have gotten some cards where the image wasn’t the best quality or was oddly clipped, but that seems to be an issue with the designer, not a general production problem at Zazzle. And I’m really happy with the design editor they provide for the majority of their postcards, which allows me to do things like re-center the artwork if it’s wonky, remove the enormous “STAMP HERE” blotch they put on by default, or nudge the divider line over a bit if I’d like more space to write.

I tend to get the semi-gloss finish, which I was surprised to find generally works pretty well with my fountain pens. The matte finish works moderately well, too; I don’t love the moderate roughness, but I don’t get any feathering, which is a bonus.

For folks who have been happy with Moo: have you gotten cards using their Original Stock, or do you go for one of the more premium stocks? I might try a batch of 25 of their cards, just to see if they work for me.

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For Christmas, my mother bought about 100 cards for me from Zazzle. One or two of them have a slightly “muddied” image, but the rest look great to me, and I love the designs she picked out. My only “complaint” would be they are slightly smaller than standard postcards. Most of the standard cards in my collection and in my trading stash are 4" x 6" whereas the Zazzle cards are 3.5" x 5.5". Certainly not a deal-breaker, and you wouldn’t really notice unless you have one up against a standard sized card.

So there, for what it’s worth, are my two cents. :wink:

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LOVE your Hamilton display! I’ve decorated my bedroom in Broadway show cards and framed Playbills - my husband is less than thrilled, but he’s a good sport about it. :slight_smile:

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