George Alexander said:
I agree that variable-data printing (not just for direct mail) is a great specialty for printers. It is a much smaller niche than short-run printing, and is not growing as fast, but that’s because everything about it is harder: selling the job, pricing the job, preparing the data, running the job efficiently, doing QA on the job. Not too many printers want to take on these tasks, so those that do are protected to some extent from competition.I said,
But printers doing specialized variable work must make sure to charge plenty for their services! This work cannot be priced like other printing.
The opportunity is that database publishing has a very long tail. Once the information infrastructure has been built, the marginal cost of the intellectual work is minimal. Consider Google.Network or stagnate Part 2
You say, “It is a much smaller niche than short-run printing, and is not growing as fast, but that’s because everything about it is harder”. Smaller no doubt from the point of view of the 30,000 + 3,000 you mentioned in the earlier post. Harder for printers, yes.
But from the point of view of the coming global information needs of education, health and government I think it is the next big thing …for someone.
My opinion is that printers have to network with those who are experts in their fields. This is the huge necessary culture shift.
The rules of a Google-Mart economy are not the rules of the Auto economy. The new rules are network or stagnate.