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Techniques & Strategies
for Making CDs at the Lowest Cost

(USA) (20c per CD)

Purchasing Blank CDs:

Periodically I call OfficeMax, Office Depot, CompUSA, Circuit City or Staples and ask if there are any specials on CD-R 100 packs. I do not trust deals for CDs found on the Web because of prior bad experience. Costco is usually a good place to look for bargains.  But on average I can buy 100 CDs for $15 on sale (15 cents each) at the large Office stores. Office Max usually has the best deals.

Burning CDs:

Most computers come with a CD burner, and can burn CDs using Windows Media Player. (instruction for using Windows Media Player)
But I prefer to use professional CD Burning software like Nero or Roxio. (One CD Burner can burn approx. 50-100 CDs per day.) I have used External USB 2.0 CD burners in the past. This prevents you from needing to open up your computer to add new hardware. You just plug them into a USB 2.0 slot.
In the past I've purchased an inexpensive ($30) External USB 2.0 CD Burners (with Nero included) from www.ComputerStop.com

But recently, I've purchase a professional CD duplicator, that can burn 4 CDs/DVDs at the same time, for about $550.
(Search Yahoo or Google shopping for "CD Duplicator 4x")

Now I can burn 300-500 per day, very fast, and not tie up the computer.
Remember to purchase one with a Hard Drive so you can store images onto the machine.

Or your can send your Master CD to a Professional Duplication Service (google search 'CD Duplication') But they can charge anywhere from 50 cents to $3 per CD.  The best price that I have found is at ReluctantRecords.com. Professional Duplication services can also label your CDs if you send them the graphic.

CD Burning Software (Free):
* CDBurnerXP Pro is a free CD/DVD burning solution:

* "Switch Software" Switch converts from various audio file formats so that you can get an audio file into a format for burning .  Switch is free (Switch-Download).  Switch PLUS costs money. http://www.brothersoft.com/mp3_audio/misc_plug-ins/switch_31906.html

*Audacity is a great Freeware MP3/Wav Audio Editor. (Multi Track Editing, + many powerful audio editing tools)
   - To Install AUDACITY goto http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
   - Also install the
LAME MP3 encoder, this allows you to save your files in MP3 format.

* The following URL is for "Wave Pad Software".  Wave Pad edits .wav files or .mp3 files.  (Wavepad-Download) is free . http://www.soft32.com/download_94744.html

* Express Burn Software. Express Burn is a program for Windows that lets you create and record audio or data CDs with any PC with a CD recorder installed. With Express Burn you can record a data or audio CD quickly and easily by dragging the files you want onto the Express Burn icon and clicking record. Express Burn CD/DVD Burner is a software that allows you to create audio CDs. The software then does all the rest converting the files if required. It is also the fastest CD writing program in the world using proprietary optimizing systems. (Express Burn Software - Download Free). http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Audio-CD-DVD-Burning/Express-Burn-CD-DVD-Burner.shtml

Testing the CDs:

After you burn CDs, you'll need to occasionally test them on a regular Audio CD player, (NOT ON A COMPUTER!. Computers can hide mistakes. One of my friends accidentally made 100 mp3 CDs, instead of the standard Audio CDs, because she didn't test them on a regular Audio CD player.)

Labeling the CDs:
There are many ways to Label a CD.

1. (RECOMENDED MEATHOD) You can purchase Paper CD Labels, and print them on your computer.  (One place to buy them is OnlineLabels.com)This will allow you to make professional looking CDs, since you can print them in Color.  But you might spend a little money replacing your ink cartriges.
2. Light-Scribe: This is a technique where the CD burner, burns a picture on the CD using a laser.  To do this, you need to buy LightScribe enabled CDs/DVDs, and a LightScribe CD/DVD Burner.   Information at LightScribe.com

3. White Top Printable CDs. These CDs have a printable surface on the top, where an injet printer can print. But you'll need a specific printer that can handle this, along with printable CDs.


4. If you have the money, you can purchase an all in one CD Copier/Printer. These can cost anywere from $1000 - $4000   Make sure you get a model with high customer satisfaction!

5. The way I have been labeling CDs is useful for very high volumns.  They do not look professional, but it allows me to label many CDs, in little time, at no cost.  I purchased a self inking stamp (with ink made for glass surfaces), enabeling me to stamp the CD with Text and a small graphic.

Self Inking Stamp, Very Quick Hand Stamp, slower  Ink made for Glass CD Sufraces The Image I use to stamp with.

You can order a Self Inking stamp from ([email protected]) or find a Stamp Maker in your area. (You'll need a graphic for them to work with.)

  • Graphic Size: Approx = 1.25" x 3", (Fits the bottom of a CD) You can make your own graphic or use mine, [1]  [2]

  • Be sure to ask for NO ink on the stamp pad, since you'll need to buy your own special ink made for glass surfaces.  I use STAZON ink bottle from This Link

  • Keep the stamp pad in a plastic bag, while you're not using it, to prevent it from drying out.

CD Covers, Sleeves:

For Covers, I do not use hard plastic covers or Paper Sleeves, but Paper Sleeves.  They cost around $25 for 1000, and are therefore very affordable.  Paper Sleeves allow me to run them through my Printer.      

Hard Cover Blank Paper Sleeve
Flap, No Window
Finished Paper Sleeve Paper Sleeve, +Flap, With Window Plastic Sleeve
  1000 for $25  

If you have a CD with a nice printed label on, then all you will need is a Paper Sleeve with a plastic window.   1000 for $20


All these can be purchased at LDB Enterprise inc,   Email: [email protected]    Tel: 1-800-370-2197,   (402) 991-1999

One other technique for making Sleeves, is to print them out yourself on standard 8.5x11 paper.  Then CUT/FOLD/PASTE them together. This technique looks professional, and allows you to have text and images on both sides of the Sleeve.  This can be time intensive, but if you have some volunteer helpers, it is a great technique.  Here are the files you'll need for that.

Mailing the Package:

When mailing packages, I use the US Post Office.  I use MEDIA MAIL rate since I'm only sending CDs.  I can ship about 50 CDs for ~$2.50.  I don't use insurance or Confirmation, since the price of a package is so low. (To save time, you can print your postage stamps at home using the USPS.gov.) 

For packaging, I just wrap the CDs in brown postal paper.  You can purchase this at a Paper supply store, very inexpensive per roll.   CDs are pretty durable, so they don't need any protective bubble wrap.  You can also purchase CD Mailers for your packages.


CD Burners

A long awaited CD Media sale.

2 stores cleaned out before they even knew what hit them.