December Scattershooting

An article in this morning’s WSJ lamented the fact that e-book pubs are being priced nearly the same, if not more, than the printed versions.  One of the major reasons is that major publishers have decided to set the pricing levels, which does not allow the retailers to discount.  The end result is creating more profits for the publishers.  Not a bad strategy when new technologies are being introduced, but should create opportunities for new entrants or small niche publishers down the road — and may help the book printers!

I just came back from spending a day in Kansas City, my home away from home the past few years.  The main purpose was to thank Jim Oldebeken for his many years of service to the industry.  Jim started with the Oklahoma PIA in the mid 80’s and went to Kansas City in the early ‘90s.  When PIA Heartland merged with PIA Texas/Oklahoma, Jim was a key part in making the transition work smoothly.  It’s been 10 years since that consolidation, and Jim is transitioning to another association — in another industry.  A small dinner was held at Grand Steet Café near the Plaza and many of Jim’s industry friends reminisced about past events, trips, and the “good ‘ol days.”  Although Jim will be missed, his replacement Loretta Nichols has jumped into the gap and will provide an outstanding resource for the print community in Western Missouri and Kansas.

OK, I’ve gotta talk a little baseball.  Can I say that I hate the Angels?  First, growing up in Southern California, I was a Dodger fan; thus, ensuring that the “other” team didn’t have a place in my baseball world.  The Angels have added to their team one of the best, if not the best, player in the league.  Although I wasn’t bothered by the Rangers losing C.J. (can’t win in the clutch) Wilson, he’s a good enough hurler to really make the Angels a better team.  Yuck.

Don’t think that there’s long term play for our industry?  Why is it that we’re seeing some serious players making acquisitions?  They see value.  One of the most recent was the Ginny’s/TouchPoint acquisition and we understand that a Fort Worth firm has been acquired.  And there’s more to come as the industry continues the inevitable consolidation and reshaping.

The industry is losing another long-time Association leader.  Jim Tepper, PINE (PIA’s New England affiliate) has announced his retirement after 35 years with the Association.  He will be replaced by former PINE board member, Tad Parker.  Jim has been a very good friend and mentor to me over the years, and I’ll miss our regular conversations – but the transition doesn’t occur until spring of next year.  I don’t think Jim’s going to disappear, and that’s good for the New England industry.  Tad is going to have his hands full as he transitions from the world of print to the Association world, but he’s going to do just fine!

Marketing is changing and it’s affecting our industry.  One of the 2012 goals for PIA MidAmerica is to add a marketing specialist to the staff.  The person’s role will be to help the membership better understand the media integration and more effectively sell the value of being a print provider. More to come!

It’s that time of the year and wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, and a great holiday season!  Feliz Navidad.

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