Print Finisher Kaiwhakatau Tānga

Print finishers bind, finish and repair books and other publications by hand or by machine.

Print finishers may do some or all of the following:

  • check print finishing specifications such as size, shape and binding
  • fold, perforate, glue and stack paper by machine and by hand
  • set up and operate binding and finishing equipment, and paper guillotines
  • operate equipment to insert printed material into newspapers, magazines and envelopes
  • repair old or damaged books
  • collate, stitch and bind products
  • meet with clients to discuss their requirements.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for print finishers includes:

  • any experience in the printing trade, such as work as a bindery assistant
  • operating machinery
  • any type of craft work using hand tools
  • work involving repair or restoration of items such as pictures or furniture.

Personal Qualities

Print finishers need to be:

  • skilled at operating machines
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good at solving problems
  • good at communicating
  • safety-conscious.


Print finishers need to have knowledge of:

  • printing and bookbinding methods
  • different paper types and sizes, glues and inks
  • how to bind and emboss books, if doing this by hand.


Print finishers:

  • sometimes do shift work, which may include evenings and weekends. They may have to work overtime to meet deadlines
  • work in workshops, printing companies, binderies and publishing houses, where conditions may be noisy.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include English, maths, processing technologies, and design and visual communication.

Print Finishers can earn around $50K-$65K per year.

Pay for print finishers varies depending on experience.

  • Apprentices usually start on the minimum wage, with pay increasing as they gain skills and complete unit standards.
  • Senior print finishers with more than five years’ experience can earn $50,000 to $65,000.

Source: PrintNZ, 'PrintNZ Industry Report', 2017.

Print finishers may move into supervisory or management positions, or into other related occupations such as printer.

They may also specialise in bookbinding. Hand bookbinders usually work on smaller or specialty print runs (between one and 1,500 copies), while machine bookbinders work on larger commercial runs.

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required.

Most people find a job at a printing company as an assistant and then start an apprenticeship.

Print Finisher