There’s an argument brewing in Texas regarding banning books in the classroom – and it’s not going to be pretty since Texas has a major influence on the purchasing of educational textbooks in the United States. Continue reading
During the past decade, numerous pundits declared that the small printer (less than 15 employees) would rapidly go the way of the dodo bird. Granted, over the years we have seen many go away but at the same time we’ve seen (and continue to see) major firms go bankrupt, liquidate or merge/consolidate (Vertis, Quebecor, Bowne, Narrowgate, Southwestern Colorgraphics, Buchanan, Townsend, Banta, etc.).
In our industry, no company is too big to fail – and that is one reason why many “small” companies will continue to thrive. Regardless of what we call ourselves (printers, print providers, marketing service provider, visual communication company), we are still in the business of producing a custom product. More often than not, that requires creativity and commitment along with the ability to be a truly committed partner – and that’s much easier to do when you’re small.
I received a press release last week from Reed Business Information regarding the closure of Graphic Arts Monthly. GAM had been one of the industry’s main-stay business journals for over 80 years.
Is it a surprise? To those of use who have been reading GAM for decades probably not. The size of the magazine had been reduced dramatically and it seemed as if the articles in the past several years were written as an infomercial about a specific technology or manufacturer.
Was the closure a vote of no-confidence regarding print? Possibly, since Reed shuttered 23 other magazines – all focused on other industries (construction, food services, materials handling, hotels). But more than likely it was a sign of the economic times. Reed’s CEO, Kieth Jones, specifically stated that the impact of the recession as well as media migration forced the decision.
Magazines need advertising revenue to survive and when manufacturers and suppliers drastically reduce their budgets, magazines are the first to suffer. When one looks at the newspaper biz, the lack of advertising dollars accelerated its shrinking. Yet, as those doors close others will open. The advent of the iPad and other tools will permit the publisher to use another medium to communicate; so for those with vision and a willingness to recommit to another channel, opportunity knocks.
In the past several weeks I’ve been in Southern California, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. In each of those regions of the country there was a bit of optimism in the in air. Granted, no one is happy with our nation’s economics. The Tea Party is having hissy fits over the Administration’s direction, and the health care supporters are in nirvana. As for the print industry in those areas of the country as well as the MidAmerica region, there is a glimmer of potential. It’s like baseball. When the season opens, everyone has a shot at the pennant, or at least being a division winner.
Yes, the business is not what it used to be, and there are still too many “dead printers walking,” as Tom Crouser says, but we’re seeing signs of life in the advertising/print community. And as us baseball fans know, spring is always a great time of the year.
Last night I attended the Dallas Advertising League’s Print-a-palooza which is an annual event focused on print advertising issues. The highlight of the event was a panel led by printer John Barry with ColorDynamics. The topic was “A World Without Print.” The panel was comprised of Ed Bardwell, a graphics/web designer; Jason Dove, an executive from the Dallas Morning News; Russell Viers, a software trainer and consultant; and Byron Racki, a marketing exec from Neenah Paper.
What was fascinating were the discussions which ensued once the topic was introduced. Everyone agreed that print is not dead but then proceeded to provide all the reasons why it’s in decline (dying?). I could see that some of the individuals who were part of the print design or production community were not very comfortable with what they were hearing. Especially when several of the tekkie’s started talking about the power of social media as a channel and the potential power of software and hardware to make everyone a “printer.”
If you are part of the print community, I challenge you to start listening to individuals/companies who see “connectivity” as the future of communication. It is the future. More importantly start looking for the opportunities in this changing visual communications world. There will be plenty — but you can not just think of yourself as a printer. Otherwise, as one young lady in the audience said, “you are just providing a commodity.”
The folks at CEO Forum provided an interesting link this morning – no, it’s not an April Fool’s Joke. Seton Hill University, a small Catholic Liberal Arts university in Pennsylvania, will provide 2010 incoming Freshman with MacBook laptop and an iPad. Why? Let me quote from their website, Twenty-first century students live in a world of technology and collaboration where learning happens 24 hours a day and is supported by professors, friends, professional experts, and fellow learners in the classroom, on the web, and around the world.
The Griffin Technology Advantage, Seton Hill’s commitment to provide students with the best in technology and collaborative learning tools, ensures that Seton Hill students will be uniquely suited to whatever careers they choose – even those that have not yet been created.I think this is very representative of the changes which are rapidly affecting print and visual communications. What are you doing to become more knowledgeable about the tools which will continue to impact the way we communicate — today and in the future?