Friday, January 9, 2009

Watch out Textbooks!

read at
Amazon is trying to copy Apple’s stunning success with its elegant iPod and cheap and user-friendly music store. The Kindle is not there yet, but it is getting closer. This year, Amazon is redesigning it, and a student version is also expected, an attempt to snag part of the $5.5 billion annual United States college textbook market."

No doubt in a year or two we'll be reading how "no one could have predicted this." And then lots more blablabla about the "End of Print." Meanwhile, the real story will be the reorganization of the textbook industry.

My opinion is that sooner or later newspapers will use the long tail of their editors and printing plants and logistics to produce up to date content for college textbooks that will be delivered in Print and E-book. Either on the iPod, the kindle or a netbook turned 90 degrees. And if they include quizzes that can be output on local wireless printers in the classrooms, they will also roll over K-12 just for good measure.

Trade Associations: Common Sense Systematically Applied

Found this morning at The site is maintained by Matt Thompson. So far, it's the best place I've found to cut through the blablabla about newspapers and journalism.

He said
"I’d like to see those questions answered — systematically, transparently, comprehensively and collaboratively."
That's what "common sense systematically applied" means. Another word for a similar approach is science. Wouldn't it be cool if our Printing Trade Associations used some of their dues to do a similar thing for us? Or if any trade associations put some real focus on this approach?

Of course, my research project concerns knowledge accumulation. But as I’ve been saying more and more recently, I also want us to get much more systematic about compiling information on how to evolve journalism. And a growing chorus of voices seem to be converging on this point.

For example: after coming to Mizzou in December, David Westphal put out a call for information to create a database of independent news sites. (He started creating that database in October, profiling a number of independent news start-ups in a week-long series.) When it’s live, if it’s well taken-care-of, this database will become a spectacular resource.

I posted another example recently, Chris Amico’s stellar compendium of tools for news.

Can we also start compiling different approaches to funding, from micro-patronage to flyerboards to ad auction networks, along with some information about how different approaches are working?

Earlier, I mentioned that I was searching for great questions. We definitely need more of those, as Mark Hamilton argues in a post today. And these projects demonstrate how I’d like to see those questions answered — systematically, transparently, comprehensively and collaboratively. And this probably isn’t the last you’ll hear from me on this.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Journalists: Take a Second Look

Yesterday I was watching NY Governor Paterson's State of the State speech. In my post, I vented a bit about the news report I hoped to get.
Here's what I got from the NY Times (on p 24)
ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson delivered his first State of the State address to the Legislature on Wednesday, an often sobering message that came as thousands of union members gathered in freezing rain outside the Capitol to protest his proposed budget cuts.

The governor’s speech contained little in the way of new policy initiatives.
Since I heard the speech, that didn't sound right. So...I followed the link to the transcript that I posted yesterday. Then I spent about 10 minutes cutting and pasting. No writing. Just highlighting an option c & option V.

It's a little long. But . . . I do live in New York and this is the Governor and we're heading into some tough times. Besides he said he wants to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws and get some money to the MTA. Plus a couple of other things about health and education. I'm thinking those are new initiatives. Here's what I cut and pasted:

Read (& talk) for Free. Pay for Print.

I got into an interesting discussion over at the Buzz Machine. It is, of course, about newspapers, web and print. 21 Responses as of right now. Thursday around 7:40 New York Time.

Evan Rudowski says:

I said:

. . . That makes very good sense to me. My question is could the web have done it without the weekly print paper? Is the primary revenue from the Paper or the Web? I’m betting the web creates the community and the news. But the Paper brings the news to everyone and the money into the organization.

He said,

. . . Without doubt, you’re right — the weekly print edition pays the freight. However, they have now eliminated six days worth of newsprint and distribution costs, while using the website to remain relevant throughout the week. And the debates on the website are vital to the community;

In the Google-Mart Economy people buy stuff. Print is stuff. Information is either free or very, very inexpensive.

Implementing Lean?

Eight Reasons Your Lean/Six Sigma Initiative Could Fail from Lean Six Sigma Academy:
"These 8 things could prove deadly to your lean and/or six sigma initiative. How many do you recognize?"
Most definitely worth the click.

More from the UK

After I did the last post, I started to poke around at The Print Business - available in the Cloud, home base in the UK - and found lots of neat stuff. Here's one sample
from CEO Interviews - CEO Interviews - The Print Business
"The success he has enjoyed in IT seems at odds with wanting to take on a business in the printing industry, albeit one in digital printing. But according to Claxson, the data-centric focus of DP Direct’s business has a lot in common with the IT business, not least that both businesses are talking to corporate procurement people.

. . . Instead of having to print at least 100,000 with an identical message, we think that we can print a short run of 4,000 to check the response rates: if these are good, then fine; but if not we can vary the offer or the message in order to maximise the response the client gets.”"
What a novel idea, first test then invest the big bucks. it's just common sense, systematically applied. And just two more,
“We can talk to clients about doing more of their print. If we can get them into our workflows, we have captured them. We understand the issues around workflow because of our ICT background.”
Notice, "get them into our workflows", not market to them or tell them that you want to be their "trusted communication partner." But you have to have a standards based workflow and real expertise in IT to really make that work.
I don’t need it to be the biggest, I want to have the people here busy and I want to be dealing with technologies that keep us all interested; and the clients will be coming to discuss ideas they have for a mailing. That’s the bit that is interesting.
”Interesting" is why I fell in love with Print in the first place.

Network or stagnate Part 1
Network or stagnate Part 2

Printers: Zero to £10 million in three years

The interesting discussion at Print Ceo Blog continues. Yesterday, among many other things, Gareth Ward pointed to a story at The Print Business in the UK.
. . . there is a company here in the UK which is producing work that offers the quality of litho on inkjet presses built to its own specification (
It’s an eye-opening place.
When I clicked on the link I got to the story and found this,
. . . arguably the single most innovative printer in the UK; one that in the three years it has been in business has grown to a turnover of more than £10 million. And none of it comes from offset litho.
and this
That opportunity lay in volume personalised printing, and pushing into transpromo markets. Here the ability to handle huge amounts of data is vital, but a significant barrier was that the digital print engines available were not fast enough. Colour from cutsheet digital presses pointed to the possibility of quality colour. But those print engines that were fast enough were either black-only or could not produce acceptable-quality colour. Rivett’s response was to build his own.
Here's the link again,

Don't you just love it when disruptive innovations come from the print shop floor, not some multi-national global corporation? Go printers!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Journalists : Take a look

So, I'm sitting here watching Gov Paterson of NY, giving the State of the State message. While he's talking I'm googling. The search term was Paterson State of the State transcript. The following link came up, before he finished the speech.

The thing is I forget most of what I hear, but only about 40% of what I read. If I'm interested in figuring out what's really going on, I have to read it a couple of times. Stopping. Mulling. Going forward. Going backward.

Truth be told, I'm a semi-retired baby boomer political junkie blooger, so I have lots of time to do what interests me. But, I'm hoping to do a search later in the day to find the journos who are crafting the stories that will tell the good parts to their readers. Me? I am a nerd who can read it myself.

Stay posted to see if I find what I'm looking for. Here's how it worked out the next day.

Oh. . .I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. So if you could get the reactions of my state assemblyman and state senator to see what they think, that would be cool. And if you have the time to tell me how his proposals might affect my neighborhood, my beloved Brooklyn and my city that would be even cooler.

And not to worry. Take your time. Get in touch with one of my local newspapers. Email them with the story. I'll read in next week's Print issue . . . while I'm on way to the supermarket.

Here's the link to the transcript:

Transcript of Gov. David Paterson's State of the State address for 2009

Posted by The Post-Standard January 07, 2009 1:53PM

To my colleagues and partners in government, Attorney General Cuomo, Comptroller DiNapoli, Speaker Silver, Leader Smith, Leader Skelos, Leader Tedisco, distinguished members of the legislature and members of the Court of Appeals - it is an honor to stand before you today to deliver my first annual message. To all of our partners outside of State government - including members of our Congressional delegation and all the mayors and other elected officials here with us today - thank you for being here. A special welcome to Governors Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo and George Pataki. We are honored by your presence here today.

My fellow New Yorkers: Let me come straight to the point - the state of our state is perilous.

Printers: Look at This -1-to-1 Print, Mail & Digital Media for
"At Print Sf, we provide a smarter way for Salesforce customers to manage marketing collateral, direct mail & digital media. Our solutions cut waste and increase results with Free Content Management, Web-to-Print, Personalized Direct Mail and Cross Media Campaigns. Get started for free, and turn your Salesforce data into more compelling communications."
Full disclosure: I'm not getting any comp from these folks. Also I have not tried it so I don't know if does what it promises. But, if it does, how cool would it be for a digital printer to offer this added value to their clients? Maybe someone will do it with Facebook and the real fun will begin.

Printed Newspapers are the Next Big Thing

Interesting discussion started over at The Next Newsroom by Chris O'Brien. The issue is the decision of the Detroit Press to drop home delivery. In this blogger's (that would be me) opinion that is the dumbest thing they could do. ( I later discovered that they are still publishing a print paper every day, just stopping the home delivery. So it's not as dumb as I first thought.) Anyways....

Chris said
. . . I keep hearing folks over and over say we should stop the presses, but there's still a lot of life, and money, left there.
And then I said,
Not only is there a lot of life left in them, but the presses and the delivery is what newspapers can do that is very hard for anyone else to do.

Gathering and telling the news is easier outside the walls of the newspaper organization. All this business about going to the web just puts the newspapers into competition with everyone else. Already newspaper sites have a huge numbers of hits.

But hits don't pay the bills.

The idea that newspapers will be able to make enough money to support their operations through hits doesn't scale, in my opinion. So..newspapers can outsource gathering the news to community blogs, to investigative non profits, to Congressional committees. Then they can concentrate on their real defensible advantage- printing and delivering stuff. At first it could be a way slimmed down version of the print. 3-3-10. Three pages of briefs with links to their site, 3 pages for a longer story in print, 10 pages of local advertising.

Then they could use their excess print capacity to use the long tail of content they already have to print specialized newspapers for K-12 education. Science writers/editors replacing sciencfe textbooks. Economy/ business writers/editors replacing economic textbooks. Political reporters teaching kids civics, which is no longer taught in schools any more.

re the money: School systems already waste a huge amount of money with the big three textbook publishers. Why not replace that with a much lower cost, more effective, series of subscriptions to a news, you can use in the service of education. I wouldn't be surprised if the kid's parents would want to subscribe to a "teaching' version of the Paper, themselves.
Then, around 2014, when it is common place for cell phones to connect Print to the Cloud, we can all get back to our day jobs and families and stop all the blablabla about the death of Print.

more on Read for Free, Pay for Print.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lean - Common Sense Systematically Applied

I am not an expert in lean. But I do have 30 years of experience in Print and often seem to have some common sense. Today I came across the Evolving Excellence Blog. They seem to be experts in lean and have lots of common sense.

I lifted this section from one of their blog posts. It's most definitely worth the click. Plus they just published a book using POD. You can learn more about it on Amazon.

From Evolving Excellence

The Staples Option:

Let's keep in mind that this is a relatively small company, single site, simple supply chain, simple widgets. So instead of SAP, how about...

First get some people together and go through a value stream mapping exercise. Nothing fancy... just figure out what you're currently doing. Take a few hours to think about it, to identify non-value-added activities, and kill those wasteful activities. Whiteboard

Next, run down to Staples. Buy a nice big whiteboard. While you're there, pick up a some markers and erasers, a webcam, and a copy of QuickBooks (Manufacturing Edition). Grab some pizza for your team to celebrate their accomplishment (and a keg of beer if your HR group hasn't tied you up in your underwear yet).

Back at the plant, mount the whiteboard on the shop floor where it will see the most traffic. Draw the flowchart on it. As a lean company you want to pull jobs from customer orders, so think about how the chart flows. Put little labeled magnet tags on the flowchart to indicate jobs. Webcam Remember to include your suppliers so you can trigger raw material orders. Get everyone on the shopfloor together and explain this visual method, and how it is everyone's responsibility to manage the board.

Now take the webcam and aim it at the board and connect it to the company's network so anyone, such as sales and customer service, can remotely view the board at any time to see the status of anyQuickbooks job. Take your copy of QuickBooks, spend a couple hours setting it up, create a couple of user accounts for shipping and receiving people (of course receiving is done right to the point of use on the shop floor...).

Cost? A couple grand... maybe.

Less Really is More

read at MediaPost Publications
"The current generation of marketers is experienced in marketing to consumers who want more, but not in marketing to consumers who want less. New needs will have to be discovered. New solutions will have to be mastered and delivered. This is not to suggest that market opportunities are going to shrivel up and blow away. Instead, the biggest growth opportunities of tomorrow will be those that address the needs of consumers who are overwhelmed by super-abundance, not to mention suddenly unable to afford more and more of it. It means thinking about how to give consumers less in ways that deliver more value to their lives. That's what consumers will be willing, and able, to pay for."

So how does a printer give less and still earn more?

Lean does not mean cutting waste

from Evolving Excellence
What lean does, above all else, is provide quick, flexible response to customer demand. But muddling that message are perverse accounting practices that discourage quick delivery well matched to customer usage.
Link to previous post on Lean Sales
Link to Lean = Common Sense Systematically Applied
Link to the The Google-Mart Economy Blog.

If Printers and Designers are in the Media Business. . .

from 10 Suggestions for Media Survival - Seeking Alpha
After a yo-yo of hope and no hope, now we move to the only discussion that really matters: What to do about it. Edward Roussel, head of digital at the Telegraph in London, writes an inspired essay telling newspapers what they should do - if it isn’t too late.
The next ten points are about newspapers. The full article is at the click. it's worth the read. Meanwhile, consider how the same applies to a printing company or a design studio or a marketing/PR firm or . . . . any communication provider. Notice that experiment is last.

1. Narrow the focus.

2. Plug into a network.

3. Rolling news with views.

4. Engage with your readers.

5. Bottom up, not top down.

6. Embrace multimedia.

7. Nimble, low-cost structures.

8. Invest in the Web.

9. Shake up leadership.

10. Experiment.

It's Not the Internet. It's Google-Mart. Part 2

The End of Brand Advertising - Seeking Alpha
There were 12 comments as of this am. Interesting discussion.
In the good old days of performance-less advertising, engagement didn’t really matter because you generally couldn’t quantify it. Studies on Reach, Frequency, and Recall aside, General Motors (GM) had no way of measuring the marginal benefit (much less revenue!) of a particular advertisement. But on the internet, it is quite clear that if nobody is clicking on your ad, then nobody is noticing it, much less “connecting” with it. Proctor and Gamble has likely spent millions of dollars on Facebook advertisements that attract a few dozen active “followers” – probably the same hit rate they had in Time magazine 20 years ago, but with one key difference: Now anyone can prove that people don’t engage with the advertisement!
But watch out direct mailers! Bold face is not in original.
Pundits will argue that with increased ad targeting, profiling, and all sorts of other algorithmic alchemy, online ad revenues will be boosted. In my opinion, such talk is nonsense insofar as brand advertising (not direct response) is concerned. Rather, a seismic shift is underway – one that will not only change the nature of advertising, but will also show that the last century of offline advertising witnessed a tremendous amount of money being flushed down the toilet. We are a lot smarter than we were 50 years ago, and those analog dollars really should have been analog pennies all along.

One of the comments:
Some of the most backward conclusions I have ever read. Same kind of 'inevitable' logic led to the tech bubble. The narrow focus of this post pre-supposes an 'Online only' consumptiive world. Even with the net erosion, Old media has real and established metrics New Media would kill for. The threat to stand alone New media companies is a hybrid Old-New model that shows that fallacy of New media only ad strategies.

As Barry Diller has aptly stated, these kind of 'new media only' predictions are fad-ish and sophomoric.
Aside from direct mail and coupons, what metrics exactly is this commentator referring to? Number of exposures? Size of audience? If anyone can help out with this it would be much appreciated.

It's not the Internet. It's Google-Mart. Part 1
Google Mart Economy Blog

Monday, January 5, 2009

Journalism or Public Relations or something new?

I got into an interesting discussion over at The context is a conversation about the role of PR in a journalism school.

It started off with Mike Keliher saying,
After reading “Why journalism schools should get rid of PR,” I couldn’t help but respond. That post by Bob Conrad offers ten reasons why PR is better suited for a business school, and I’m going to attempt a point-by-point response from the opposite perspective. . . .read the rest here
After about 10 comments, Bill Sledzik said,
What exactly is the difference between journalism and PR? Journalists tell stories. PR people solve problems. Sometimes we tell stories as part of the package, but there’s a lot more to it. We counsel management and influence organizational policy as a means of building relationships. We listen to stakeholders and report back. We assess public opinion and forecast public behavior
Then I said,

But there is a long tradition of journalists solving problems. Some of the greatest newspapers were the crusading heroes to solve important public problems.

Perhaps one of the reasons that journalism has lost it’s way is that they drank the cool aid that they are the “objective” and just “tell stories.” Objective in this context often just means safe. Safe means often means “don’t upset someone because you will lose access or status.

I think going forward journalists may turn out to do PR for the public.

Consider your words with just a little search and replace:

We counsel community leaders and influence organizational policy as a means of building vibrant local communities. We listen to citizens and report their concerns. We assess public opinion and forecast public behavior, in the interest of trying to understand what kind of information they need to make better decisions.

So…I’m going with "PR for the Public" and replacing the whole sometimes very sanctimonious journalists.

It's a bit like graphic designer or commercial artist. The job description and the job are starting to part company in the google-mart economy.

It might be interesting to define exactly what is meant by "a journalist" and a "PR person" going forward.

Textbooks are a low hanging fruit

Interesting discussion at about education. It had 58 comments last time I looked. If you are interested in education, definitely worth the read.

In any case, one of the things he said is

But in any case, we can also work on developing the passion for science and engineering in children at an early age. We've been doing that with our son by supplementing his schoolwork with afterschool work on programming videogames which is his passion (and the passion of most 12 year old boys that I know).

I blogged earlier this year that 39 out of 40 kids in a college comp sci class said they developed their passion for programming playing video games.

That's what I am talking about. We could use a similar dynamic in bioengineering, energy technology, and other important new technologies.

Infecting our kids with passion for learning is key and we must do a better job of it.

And 57 comments later, I said,
I apologize for not reading the comments before I posted. Very nice discussion. Most especially if the VC take a look at education through some different lenses.

Anyway I have three more cents:
1. The efficiencies of online learning are already close to tipping. The trick is that the educational institutions don't want to share the added value created with faculty, students and parents. The price of higher ed is unsustainable. Congress and the market are both going to go after it.

2, The issue is not "the kids need to see an actual connection between the things they study and their applications in the real world". Kids live in a very real world today. It's about learning, fun, adventure or a million other things. They are naturally learning machines. It's "a get out of the way, nurture what is already there" problem. A lot less will produce a lot more.

3. The textbook industry is a very ripe low hanging fruit that may be attacked by the remnants of the newspaper industry or more likely the Crowd in the Cloud. Consider using the long tail of newspaper content in customized readers to be sold in place of textbooks. The print tech is in place. The Cloud is in place. The newspapers are looking for a life line. Imagine the NYTimes taking on the big three textbook publishers.

Keep your eye on Printed Electronics

more at BBC NEWS |
Maybe Printers can escape from a crashing advertising industry by learning how to print electronics. It's a much more sustainable business.
"Right now, we're planning two big themes for our television reports from Las Vegas - the future of television, and recession tech, by which we mean smaller, leaner less power-hungry gadgets for these difficult times.

So we hope to look at how far OLED has got on delivering on the promise of the thinnest screens with the sharpest pictures, at somewhat more realistic prices than we've seen to date."
To get you up to speed, here's what wikipedia has to say.
Printed electronics (also called electronic printing[1]) is the term for a relatively new technology that defines the printing of electronics on common media such as paper, plastic, and textile using standard printing processes.

Agency of the Year: MediaVest :"We do what we say."

read more at MediaPost Publications -
What a novel idea! "Do what you say." It would probably work for most Printers.
"In ways large and small, the shop continued to be a step ahead in strategizing about change and exploiting it, in creating new solutions and finding new opportunities. All while doing the basic things just as well as its peers - cross-platform deals, for example - but finding a novel twist every time. As Lisa Donohue, president of MediaVest's new planning entity, Truth and Design, puts it, 'We do what we say.'

Here's just a sampler of how MediaVest's year unfolded:
>> In an industry first, the shop took over the Bon Appétit masthead for Starbucks in May, turning the whole page into a simulation of the coffee seller's colorful, wood-framed, handwritten chalkboard menus, including Bon Appétit staffers offering up their favorite Starbucks blends and food pairings.

>> The peripatetic agency became the first shop to partner with TRAnalytics to link TV ad effectiveness to sales by combining set-top box viewership data with demographics, psychographics and behavioral purchase information.

>> It was the first agency subscriber to NetMRI's fused print and Web site data, taking a vanguard position in the search for better understanding and measurement of the print-online readership relationship - and enabling the agency to profile MRI targets against 2,300 Web sites compared to 40 using MRI alone.

>> In 2008, connectivetissue reached a milestone: 5,000 minutes of content. And the division routinely creates or produces content for many different channels, working with activators and investors but also with the MediaVest shopper team, and its advanced TV unit (MediaVest is now the largest player in VOD in the United States, by the way).

>> It partnered with Google on a neuroscience online video overlay ad study.

>> And as winter's chill gripped the country, MediaVest became the first in the United States to deliver heated bus shelters (starting with 10 in Chicago, which could really use them) on behalf of Kraft's Stove Top Stuffing.

Reach or depth?

Read more at Digital Express:
There are different mediums through which you can advertise events and exhibitions. Some types of advertising medium are television, radio, internet, magazines, and newspapers. . . . Some of these media have a far reach but could cost more on your pocket, while others are affordable but may not have a great reach.
In the Google -Mart economy, depth is gthe necessary, but not sufficient condition for success. Depth means Print + Web.
One of the most cost-effective means of advertising your products and services is through posters. Poster prints are affordable and at the same time can reach many people. Posters have a rich look and if designed creatively can make your product and event an instant hit."

Network or Stagnate Pt.2

read more at MediaPost Publications
Add printers and designers to "TV, radio stations and newspapers" and insert Print in front of "digital interactivity."
"The problem: auto, financial, retail and real-estate businesses that generate more than half of local media advertising revenues will not recover anytime soon. Some are never coming back. The number of retail store closures in 2009 could exceed last year's 148,000 closures, due mostly to major chains filing for--or trying to avoid-- bankruptcy. Small local businesses are especially under pressure. As many as 3,800 local auto dealerships risk collapse from dwindling sales and credit. The consolidation of investment banks will continue across regional banks. Real estate values and sales will continue to fall. Federal recapitalization, which could boost the deficit to $4 trillion, will occur at the top of the food chain.

The solution: TV, radio stations and newspapers must work more closely with communities and merchants to strengthen local economies. Their survival depends upon on their effective use of digital interactivity. Job one is to connect local consumers with goods and services of choice using location-based marketing on cell phones and Web sites. With thrift the new norm, marketers ranging from Procter & Gamble to Liz Claiborne have learned to monetize the coupon comeback."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sergey likes books for search

read at
"said Sergey Brin, a Google founder and its president of technology, in a brief interview at the company’s headquarters. . . . . There is fantastic information in books. Often when I do a search, what is in a book is miles ahead of what I find on a Web site.”
And the techies believe Print is dead . . .

Printers, to thrive, do this!

From The Technium
Replace "creative artist" with ABC (printing or fill in the blank) company name and see what happens.
"The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers. Of those two, I think consumers earn the greater reward from the wealth hidden in infinite niches.

But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist's works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail?"

One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

Network or Stagnate

Interesting discussion over at PrintCeoBlog.

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.

But printers doing specialized variable work must make sure to charge plenty for their services! This work cannot be priced like other printing.

I said,
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.

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.
Network or stagnate Part 2

Magazine ad shows invisible 3D Mini

the video is at Print Media Matters:
"I saw this great example of integration of online and offline media in the German press recently. It uses a print ad, 3D software, a webcam and the internet to show a Mini Cabrio on the ad. It looks like the work of David Copperfield! You can be your own illusionist by downloading this pdf and by following the German instructions on this website. By the way this new technology also come with a new name: Augmented Reality."

Printers print books, newsLetters, posters. The connections between the Cloud and Print is the next big thing. Ever wonder why the cool stuff happens in Europe or India or ...

a period of rapid, 30-40% growth per year

read more at everydayprint News:

"Cardiff-Based Company Invests in Unproven Print Technology
January 4th, 2009 by John

Cardiff-based Gardner took a leap of faith by investing in unproven print technology four years ago. The firm underwent a period of rapid, 30-40% growth per year and is now on target to hit a turnover of 11-12 million pounds this year. The technology they used was the Agfa Dotrix, a 63cm-wide roll-to-roll UV-cured digital inkjet press.

Gardner was looking for a more efficient way of printing adhesive window decals for financial services than the screen process historically used. They ran some jobs in 27 colors to get high quality. Screen print was difficult in production, including optimizing the layout on the material, and some jobs took up to six months to prepare. Gardner made the move into wide-format for specialist fabric printing 12 years ago."
An "adhesive window decal" is a poster. Printers print books, newsLetters and posters.