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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lightning Source Unveils Plans for Third Production Facility

Lightning Source Unveils Plans for Third Production Facility
By Cary Sherburne, Senior WTT Editor
February 22, 2007 -- ... more recently, Lightning Source announced that it would be opening a second manufacturing facility in the United States. WhatTheyThink checked in with Lightning Source CEO Kirby Best to get the scoop behind all of this activity and an update on Lightning Source's strategic vision for this exciting market segment.

WTT: Kirby, as always it is a pleasure to speak with you. The last time we spoke, you indicated Lightning Source was producing about a million books a month. What type of volume are you producing these days?

KB: Our volumes haven't changed that much. When we spoke at the end of last year, we were ramping up for the Christmas season. But volumes haven't dropped off, either. What we are really seeing now is phenomenal growth in the number of titles coming into our digital database from the larger publishers?titles that we know have a certain velocity already. That is the real growth story. Ultimately, titles will drive how much volume we do in the next little while, especially the titles with better historical velocity.

WTT: How many titles would you say you have in your digital library at this point?

KB: It is a moving target, but there are about a half million titles in our library at the present time.

WTT: And how many publishers do you have on board these days?

KB: About 4,500.

WTT: When new titles come in, where are they in the life cycle?

KB: That is the fun part. It is a great mixture of frontlist and backlist titles, and a better mixture all the time from traditional and non-traditional publishers. We are currently at 63% traditional and 37% author services in terms of the books that are actually printed. The bottom line is we have now gotten over the hump and publishers now understand the value of on-demand printing and where it can fit in their business model. We don't need to spend a lot of time explaining it anymore.


KB: Customers were demanding better halftones in the black & white work, and we carefully watched the development of all of the printers on the market. In the end, it came down to IBM and Océ, and Océ, quite frankly, was developing a better product. It was a tough decision. We had been with IBM for nine years, and the decision to move to Océ was not taken lightly. The fact of the matter is that our analysis showed that the Océ presses print a better halftone. We will leap to an even better halftone with the next upgrade in March. We still have some of the IBMs and will be replacing them as needed. So the acquisition of the Océ presses is a combination of adding capacity and retiring IBMs.

WTT: What about color?

KB: The Océ presses are constructed to eventually print in four color, but Océ is not there yet and their work continues. . While we are not currently using the Océ machines for color, we see the 9000 producing a high grade ?business? color in the future, which was another feather in Océ's cap that helped us make the decision. In terms of color, we expect to put 10 web-fed color presses and five sheetfed color presses in the new plant.

WTT: Are you seeing new applications for color, then?

KB: Absolutely. We have entered into the color book and photo book markets, and we feel they are going to explode twice as fast as the black & white book market did. Color books are very difficult for a publisher to produce in short runs cost effectively, and our short-run capability opens tremendous new opportunity for them. In terms of photo books, this is a new product area that allows consumers a new way of showcasing and sharing their photos. Instead of having your photographs printed at Wal-Mart or Walgreens, or producing them at home on a photo printer, you can incorporate them into a beautiful hardcover book, commemorating soccer teams, birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, all sorts of important life events. And you can have a beautiful, sewn hardcover book for about $30.

WTT: How does Lightning Source fit in?

KB: We divide the industry into three buckets. The first is the traditional big boxes?Walgreens, Sears, Wal-Mart?where you might take photos for processing. In the second bucket, are companies who have written software that allows photographs to be imposed into a product. A lot of these are online. And in the third bucket, are companies that actually make the products, such as a mug, mouse pad or photo book. Shutterfly, as an example, operates in all three areas. We only want to operate in the final bucket, and we are working with software providers to incorporate a ?powered by Lightning Source? logo into their software, making us the default producer of these books. One provider in Europe is producing more than 6,000 photo books a day, and these companies need the scalability of Lightning Source.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

WhatTheyThink.com Acquires Electronic Publishing

WhatTheyThink.com Acquires Electronic Publishing,

Electronic Publishing Subscribers Now Part of Expanding WhatTheyThink.com Community

- WhatTheyThink.com's circulation expands to over 45,000 with acquisition of Electronic Publishing

Lexington, KY and Tulsa OK ? February 19, 2007 ? WhatTheyThink.com, the leading online publication serving the printing and publishing industry, today announced the acquisition of Electronic Publishing. The purchase expands WhatTheyThink.com?s subscriber base from 15,000 to over 45,000 subscribers. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Electronic Publishing, a 30-year old publication owned by PennWell Corp, provides design, printing and publishing professionals with authoritative information on technology, products and trends. In 2006, PennWell eliminated the printed edition of Electronic Publishing to focus on the digital distribution of content via the website, webcasts, and email newsletters. Electronic Publishing is well known for reporting on and analyzing new directions in prepress and printing products and business technology.

WhatTheyThink.com will integrate Electronic Publishing?s assets immediately. ?Over the past three decades Electronic Publishing has served its readers with cutting edge content and analysis,? said Randy Davidson, President of WhatTheyThink.com. ?I am confident we will be able to build on this tradition and serve Electronic Publishing?s subscribers with timely news, commentary, research and much more.?

Keith Hevenor, who has served as Editor of Electronic Publishing for many years, will remain at PennWell as Editorial and Conference Director for CMM International, the leading event for professionals in the converting and package printing industries. "I have enjoyed serving as Editor of Electronic Publishing for the past eight years. WhatTheyThink.com is a great match for Electronic Publishing?s readers as they provide comprehensive coverage of the printing industry on a daily basis."

Electronic Publishing was founded in 1977 by industry veteran Frank Romano. Romano is an important contributor to WhatTheyThink.com providing commentary and analysis in a weekly column entitled ?Fridays with Frank?. Romano also hosts webinars for WhatTheyThink.com. "What began on my kitchen table as a publication to unite the worlds of typesetting and word processing and then evolved to encompass CTP and digital printing and everything else is now reborn in cyberspace. The fact that Electronic Publishing is still around after all these years is amazing. The fact that I am still around is more so."

WhatTheyThink.com offers free content including daily news, reports, webinars and stock data. Electronic Publishing?s readers will receive WhatTheyThink.com?s free email newsletter and access to all free content.

About WhatTheyThink.com

WhatTheyThink.com is the print and publishing industry's leading online community. The company offers the latest industry news about practitioners, vendors, technologies, and the graphic communications business. Additionally, WhatTheyThink.com provides a robust content syndication program serving related websites.

Monday, February 19, 2007

research and development is critical for survival, Cedar Graphics interview by whattheythink.com

"Naturally we want to promote print; however, we won?t promote it if we don?t think it?s the right solution for the customer.

WTT: How important are research and development to the future of Cedar Graphics?

HI: We think that research and development is critical for survival because it allows us to specialize and react quickly to or even anticipate our customers? needs. We feel strongly about developing our processes and products. Sometimes customers are the impetus to get you to provide them with products that will help them grow their business ? say, something they?ve seen at a competitor. Today, database management and information technology are critical. If a customer says, I want to give you this project but I need reports this certain way, online and in real time, you need to know that you can provide that for them. If you look at them and say, we have to do some research and it?s going to take us three months because we don?t have the infrastructure to get the job done, they?re going to move on to somebody else. The trick is to do the research, anticipate the market and stay one step ahead of the customer.

WTT: Can you offer any advice to your industry peers?

HI: The owners and upper management of successful printing companies I know remain accessible to their customers and in touch with their needs. Management can?t just turn over customer relations wholly to sales. They have to stay intimately involved. I can?t emphasize that enough. Internally, stay in touch with your employees. They are the ones who will make new technology work for you. Treat your vendors like customers. Cherish the partnerships they offer you. KBA has been a terrific partner in these installations; they were keenly interested in our success."

WhatTheyThink.com - Print's Home Page:

Friday, February 09, 2007

ASPT Seeks Submissions for Student Competition

PrintPlanet.com | Learn - Teach - Debate : on the forefront of prepress, print production, post press, personalization printing, print buyer, consulting: "ASPT Seeks Submissions for Student Competition
Fairfax, Virginia ? The Academy of Screen Printing Technology is accepting submissions for the Student Screen Printing Awards Competition, which selects the best prints produced during the 2006-2007 school year.

'This contest is an excellent opportunity for students who want a career in the specialty imaging industry. They'll have the chance of showing their work to industry leaders,' said Dawn Hohl, SPTF Technical Training Manager.

The competition is open to secondary and post-secondary schools ? including high schools, vocational schools, technical schools, colleges and universities ? holding membership(s) for SGIA, FESPA or the Asia-Pacific Screen Printing & Graphic Imaging Association.

Students may enter samples within any category as individual work or within a team. Categories include:

- Textile ? single-color, multicolor, spot color, index and simulated process, and four-color process.

- Paper ? single-color, multicolor and four-color process

- Plastic, glass, metal or wood ? single-color, multicolor and four-color process.

- Original serigraphs on any substrate
All submitted work will be judged and displayed at SGIA '07 (Orlando, Florida; October 24-27, 2007). For more information on the contest, visit SGIA.org/aspt"

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Newspapers Outsourcing Production: Is This an Escalating Trend?

WhatTheyThink.com - "Newspapers Outsourcing Production: Is This an Escalating Trend?:

By Cary Sherburne, Senior WTT Editor

February 8, 2007 -- Recently, more stories have been appearing about newspapers outsourcing various types of production, from ad production to printing and distribution, including a recent column by Andy Tribute about newspaper trends that touched on the outsourcing issue. WhatTheyThink spoke with Michael Brady, Director of Production Operations, Technology Department, for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) to gain an understanding of whether this is an escalating trend in the face of increasing pressure on the newspaper industry or merely choices made by a few newspaper companies.


A major deal that caught our attention was the announcement in November of last year by Canada?s Transcontinental, Inc., and the venerable San Francisco Chronicle of an exclusive 15-year contract for Transcontinental to print the daily newspaper and its related products, as well as to provide complete post-press services. Transcontinental, North America's seventh-largest printer and Canada's leading newspaper printer, is slated to begin production of the Chronicle in spring 2009 in a new plant it will equip with state-of-the-art technology in the San Francisco Bay Area. Transcontinental is already printing Canadian newspapers The Globe and Mail and La Presse, as well as, in its plant in Toronto, The New York Times for the Ontario and Upstate New York markets. The San Francisco Chronicle is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which publishes some 200 magazines around the world, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine, and owns 29 television stations which reach a combined 18% of U.S. viewers. Transcontinental has a network of Canadian 12 plants that extends from St. John?s, in Newfoundland, to Vancouver BC and prints about 200 newspapers, including some 20 dailies."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kodak's Strategy For First Printer -- Cheaper Cartridges - WSJ.com

Kodak's Strategy For First Printer -- Cheaper Cartridges - WSJ.com:

February 6, 2007; Page B1

"Kodak, which is led by several veterans of H-P's printer group, plans to modify that model by making more money from hardware and accepting lower profits from the ink. It says it will use a combination of new technology and alternative pricing to slash ink prices by about 50% per page. On Tuesday, it unveiled new inkjet-based multifunction devices that print, scan and copy documents, Web pages and photos. The printers, primarily intended for home rather than business use, will be priced at $150 to $300, depending on whether they have color displays and slots for camera memory cards. Analysts said the prices are each about $50 more than comparable multifunction devices now on the market.

Each of the Kodak printers will use a $10 black-ink cartridge and a $15 color-ink cartridge -- about half the prevailing ink prices. Kodak says consumers who buy high-volume paper packages will be able to print 4-inch-by-6-inch snapshots for as little as 10 cents apiece -- compared with 29 cents on typical home printers and well under common retail-store prices of 19 cents each."

A Better Way to Preview Complex Print, Commentary by Andrew Tribute

WhatTheyThink.com - A Better Way to Preview Complex Print:

Andy Tribute wrote:
"As a part of this event on day one there was a mini exhibition of all Esko?s systems to update the sales and support people on what all the products and systems could do. At this exhibition I came across an interesting company I had heard about but not seen before who were negotiating an exclusive distribution agreement for Esko to sell their product into the worldwide pre-production packaging market.
The potential for the use of PrintDevizor in packaging is very obvious and having seen how well it integrates in the Esko Scope applications I can envisage it will become used by a large number of Esko?s customers and their clients.

The company is Stonecube from the UK, and their product was PrintyDevizor, a dynamic print visualizer. This product will be tightly integrated into the Esko Scope solution to allow creative staff and packaging print purchasers to visualize how a print job would look on the package. This is not just visualizing how the normal printed inks will appear but will allow in real-time the package to be viewed while different effects like embossing, special inks, varnishes, etc using different substrates are seen under different lighting conditions.

PrintDevizer is not new and the version I saw was version 2.2. It is already used in job creation and production by many companies, perhaps the best known of which is Hallmark Cards. What I saw was very unique piece of software that does things no other program I know of can do. The program is a unique software tool for both Mac and PC that allows on-screen viewing of moving 3D views of print designs under real-world lighting conditions. It allows the user to see the effects of different substrates, inks and finishes, even metallic and fluorescent inks, foils and embossing. The program is available at two levels, the first being PrintDevizer standard edition that is targeted at everyone in design and print. The second is PrintDevizer Pro that has extra features essential for packaging, labels, greeting cards and print finishing. The software supports special finish libraries for Adobe Creative Suite and Quark XPress. It also supports the Pantone Matching System including metallic and high intensity inks. Other special ink approaches such as MetalFX are also supported and other special inks can be added into the system. In the Pro mode it also supports viewing of die cutting and transparent materials."

The full article in on www.whattheythink.com

Attributes Associates is an internationally oriented consulting company specializing in marketing and technology issues for the printing, publishing and media markets. The Managing Partner of Attributes Associates is Andrew Tribute, who is recognized internationally as one of the world's leading authorities on these industries and subjects.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Margie Dana shares her "Print Tips Column" with the PrintPlanet forums.
Take a moment to read. Then discuss and debate the content on the
printbuyer discussion forum on printplanet.com.

Margie writes:

If you're in business, you handle envelopes. Long and lean or short
and squat, the envelope is in your face with every mail delivery. It
would take time and tens of thousands of words to cover all there is
to know about envelopes - from manufacturing to printing to paper
issues, plus design tips and postal concerns. I dare not attempt that
here and now.

But for new print-buying professionals, envelopes present a bit of
mystery. Where do they come from, anyway? I remember starting out in
print production at Boston University's Office of Publications
Production. It was way back in the '80s (and I had the hairstyle to
match). I assumed that envelopes came from the print shop. Well, they
do and they don't.

Printers don't make envelopes. They print them.

Envelope manufacturers make envelopes, by converting paper into
envelopes. I had a conversation about this with Paul Raymond of Bruen
Printing & Envelope in Ashland, MA. He was quite enlightening.

In New England alone, there are three very large envelope
manufacturers: Worcester Envelope and National Envelope, both in
Worcester, along with Mead/Westvaco Envelope in Enfield, CT. I
learned there are several smaller ones, too. Raymond tells me that
National is the largest privately owned envelope manufacturer in the
country. It also owns Old Colony Envelope near Springfield, among others.

It turns out that Worcester, MA, is quite the Mecca of envelope
manufacturing. The first successful envelope machine was patented by
Dr. Russell Hawes in Worcester back in 1853. Also, the first
mechanical self-gumming envelope folding machine was developed by
Henry and David Swift, also of Worcester. Raymond thinks that at one
time, the Worcester area had more envelope manufacturers than the
rest of New England combined (doesn't it still?). In addition to the
two mentioned above, Sheppard Envelope and Classic Envelope are in or
near this central MA city.

Typically, customers (end users, that is) don't deal with envelope
manufacturers. They leave this to their printers. Most printers buy
their envelopes from paper merchants as they do most of their other
paper supplies. Others simply outsource the entire envelope project
to envelope specialty printers, who have equipment specifically
designed for printing nearly any variety or style of envelope.

If you're designing a job that will require a custom envelope, that's
a different issue. You want to learn about standard sizes (among
other things), which will keep your costs down. Printers who do a lot
of envelope printing can guide you, so talk with them early to avoid
costly problems.

Envelopes have their own terminology. There are Baronial envelopes
(pointy flaps) and A-size envelopes (square or straight flaps), for
example. Catalog envelopes have the flap on the short dimension,
while booklet envelopes have them on the long side.

When you're measuring an envelope, always quote the smaller dimension
first and then the larger one. The same applies when measuring a
custom window, advised Raymond: height first, length, position from
the left and from the bottom. When measuring for a custom window,
always position the envelope with the flap at the top to ensure
accuracy. Ask for a mockup proof of the envelope.

There are many different flap styles, seam styles, and sealing
methods for envelopes. Don't get me started on window options - there are tons.

There's a major US trade association devoted to the manufacture of
envelopes, at http://mdana.c.topica.com/maafG15abwkcLa6dwTObaeQyjU/ ,
the site of the Envelope Manufacturers Association. I found some
interesting statistics on this site, including annual US envelope
shipments and sales.

At the end of 2005, there were about 195 billion envelopes
manufactured in the US. Compare that to 1995, when there were 168
billion envelopes manufactured, or to 1985, when 150 billion were made.

I've been to many printing facilities, but never to an envelope
manufacturer. I guess a road trip out to Worcester, MA, is in order.
Let me thank Paul Raymond of Bruen Printing & Envelope for his
enlightenment on the envelope. Bruen's web address is
http://mdana.c.topica.com/maafG15abwkcMa6dwTObaeQyjU/ , and their
phone is 800.852.2226. Yes, they do envelopes. They PRINT them, that
is, on something called a Jet press (not to be confused with an
ink-jet press), manufactured by Halm Industries (
http://mdana.c.topica.com/maafG15abwkcNa6dwTObaeQyjU/ ).

Standard or custom, printed from stock or printed and converted,
envelopes deserve close attention when you produce them, or else you
could overspend. And they don't grow on trees. Technically speaking.

About Margie Dana had a career as a corporate print buyer. She was
never a printer and never worked for a printer. However she
"Parlez-Vous Printing" in plain English. Margie Dana is the founder
of the Boston-area Print Buyers Club. Located in Newton, Ma, she can
be found at http://www.bostonprintbuyers.com/ and reached privately
by email at mdana@bostonprintbuyers.com

"Is Personalization Cracking the Foundations of Society?

WhatTheyThink.com - "Is Personalization Cracking the Foundations of Society?:

One might get that impression from an article in Advertising Age. While many points the author attempts to make are needlessly alarmist or wrong, it reminded me of the book from 2000 titled Bowling Alone. The book's website is still active. The author, Robert Putnam of Harvard, as the site states, ?draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often.? The point to me is that geography is no longer a factor in determining with whom we socialize. Time is less of an issue as people adjust work schedules and leisure time to meet their needs. Using tools like Skype and instant messaging, we can meet with friends and acquaintances who share deep interests, and not be limited by where we live. We may bowl alone, but we may also compare scores with people around the world.

At the core of this for personalization is data: narrow market segmentation cannot be executed without it. But as the Advertising Age article states, any individual should be able to ?watch a dog-food commercial even if she doesn't currently have a dog.? This goes to a bigger marketing point: what good is branding if you only target people who use your products at only this very moment? You can't build brand equity without a consistent program that increases familiarity among people who may become your customers tomorrow. Personalized marketing is based on historical patterns, not future ones, and is likely to miss significant future opportunity."

While personalization technologies do offer significant benefits, it is important that communicators and marketers realize that they need a blend of approaches in their media mix. This even applies to trade shows. I know that there are companies who are seriously considering skipping shows, and replacing that budget line item with customer events, even if they have to fly customers great distances and put them up in hotels. This is understandable in light of the high costs of shows, in both dollars and time. Yet, trade events serve a larger branding purpose that is underestimated in situations where quarter-to-quarter becomes paramount. Any business that cannot engage in long-term brand development because the next quarter is looming is reducing its capacity for long-term growth. The all-too-often-heard comment, ?unless we have sales now there won't be a company five years from now? may seem insightful, but it is defeatist. All that is really being said is that there is a preference to live from quarter to quarter, and that brand building and marketing are useless. If that were the case, sales reps would not have to explain what their companies stand for and how they differ from competitors. Few people realize that a sales call is the ultimate in personalization and that you can't make a credible sales call without good market-wide branding behind it. This marketing stuff actually works."

Full report http://members.whattheythink.com/drjoewebb/drjoe173.cfm
Mondays with Dr. Joe Web, 5Feb2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Boston Print Buyers - Margie's Print Tips,
What Lies Ahead for the US Print Market?

Boston Print Buyers - Margie's Print Tips What Lies Ahead for the US Print Market?
Part 1

Davis and Ed Gleeson (an economic and market research analyst for PIA/GATF) authored a market overview report entitled, "Navigating Print Markets in 2007-2008."* This report was the basis of Davis' recent presentation.

"Halt, Who Grows There

The most popular form of printing - ink-on-paper - is experiencing slow growth, which will continue. Digital printing is experiencing strong growth. Davis predicts it will grow at twice the rate of ink-on-paper.

Go back and read this last sentence again. Are any of you surprised? You shouldn't be. In all of the surveys I've conducted, digital color printing is the one type of printing that every print buyer purchases.

The print industry tracks the US economy, so if our economy enters a period of slow growth, so will printing. A slowdown in the growth rate of both is expected over the next 12-24 months, and Davis advised printers to plan their businesses accordingly.

He then listed four different reasons for recovery in the industry:

1. Strong economic growth
2. Presidential elections
3. The rebound of advertising
4. Stable postage rates

Key Market Segments

Davis highlighted specific print market segments in terms of economic projections. The four top segments in terms of 2007 growth potential, according to PIA/GATF, are as follows:

1. Direct Marketing (1.5% - 2.5%)
2. Labels/Wrappers Printing (1.5% - 2%)
3. Packaging (1.5% - 2%)
4. Catalog Printing (1% - 1.5%)

General Commercial Printing, Periodicals/Magazines, and Book printing all weighed in at a projected 1% growth this year, while the last two categories show negative growth (Directories at 0% to -0.5% and Business Forms at -3% to -4%).

The US print industry loses about 1000 printing companies each year. From a high of 54,000 in 1994, we are now down to 40,000 US printing plants. Interestingly, the average plant size is growing, because the companies that cease operating tend to be the smaller ones. Today, said Davis, the average US print facility employs 27 people.

Davis predicts that the overall sales in printing for 2006 will be up 2.5%, as compared to the GDP growth of 3.3%."

This snippet from: http://www.bostonprintbuyers.com/printtips/07-01-22.html

About Margie Dana had a career as a corporate print buyer. She was never a printer and never worked for a printer. However she "Parlez-Vous Printing" in plain English. Margie Dana is the founder of the Boston-area Print Buyers Club. Located in Newton, Ma, she can be found at http://www.bostonprintbuyers.com/ and reached privately by email at mdana@bostonprintbuyers.com

Boston Print Buyers - Margie's Print Tips,
What Lies Ahead for the US Print Market? part2

Boston Print Buyers - Margie's Print Tips:

" What Lies Ahead for the US Print Market? by Margie Dana

"... key findings about the print industry market, based on a recent presentation by Ron Davis. Davis is the Chief Economist for PIA/GATF (Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation).

Economist Davis prefaced his predictions with, 'I hope I'm wrong.' He predicts an economic slowdown for 2007-08 like so:

2006: 3.3%
2007: 1.5%
2008: 2.5%

5 Opportunities, 3 Threats

Davis went on to list the major opportunities and threats to today's printers for the next few years.

The 5 major opportunities are:

1. Survival of the fittest - the companies with strong balance sheets, well-trained employees, strong customer relationships, and strategic vision will survive.
2. Digital printing - even though digital/toner-based printing is only about 10% of total print shipments right now, it's been growing twice as fast as ink-on-paper shipments. This will continue.
3. Ancillary services - such sales have grown faster than ink-on-paper sales for a few years already. Included in this category are mailing and fulfillment services.
4. Market segments - printers in certain segments are predicted to show the most growth. These segments are direct marketing, labels/wrappers, packaging, and catalogs.
5. Improved management performance - according to PIA/GATF, print industry profit leaders consistently outperform other printers in good times AND in bad. An interesting aside: these leaders outspend other printers in one category: education and training. Today's print profit leaders develop strategic positioning.

The 3 threats to US printers are:

1. Slowing economy and print market growth - Davis noted that recessions come about every 10 years, and we're entering the 7th year in this cycle. If the US economy enters a recession, 'print markets will be more seriously impacted in a negative direction than the economy as a whole,' according to Davis' report, 'Navigating Print Markets in 2007-2008: An Environmental Scan of the Economy and Printing Markets for 2007-2008.'*
2. Cost pressures - particularly in wages/salaries, paper prices, health care, and energy costs.
3. Continued intense competition and pricing pressure - there are 40,000 printers in this country. That's competition."

Full story on http://www.bostonprintbuyers.com/printtips/index.html

About Margie Dana was never a printer and never worked for a printer. However she "Parlez-Vous Printing" in plain English. Margie Dana is the founder of the Boston-area Print Buyers Club. Located in Newton, Ma, she can be found at http://www.bostonprintbuyers.com/ and reached privately by email at mdana@bostonprintbuyers.com

CIP4 and Ryerson announce JDF 101 Education Event : packagePrinting

CIP4 and Ryerson announce JDF 101 Education Event : packagePrinting: "CIP4 and Ryerson announce JDF 101 Education Event
January 05, 2007

TORONTO, Ontario?The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) organization and Ryerson University announced a free ?JDF Education Event? to be held at Ryerson University in Toronto on Tuesday, 20 February 2007.

This one-day program will cover all aspects of print process automation, CIP4 and the Job Definition Format (JDF), and is hosted by Ryerson University?s School of Graphic Communications Management. This JDF 101 Education Event is the first of its kind in Canada. Speakers will identify the benefits of JDF-enabled process automation experienced by small and medium-sized commercial offset and digital printers, and will provide an introduction to how JDF works, and its function in the modern printing plant. Speakers include:
? Mark Wilton, CIP4 Education and Marketing & Global Initiative Manager at Kodak Graphic Communications

? James Harvey, Executive Director of CIP4 Organization

? Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti Computer Systems

? Tim Hassan, National Digital Solutions Systems Specialist at AGFA Graphics Canada

? Dr Abhay Sharma, Chair of Ryerson University?s School of Graphic Communications Management

The JDF specification is intended to enable the entire industry, including designers, publishers, printing and graphic arts companies, and others to work with software and systems from different manufacturers in an integrated workflow facilitated by a common data interchange syntax."

CIP4 - What does CIP4 stand for? Acronyms and abbreviations by the Free Online Dictionary.

CIP4 - What does CIP4 stand for? Acronyms and abbreviations by the Free Online Dictionary.: "Acronym Definition
CIP4 International Cooperation for Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress (formerly CIP3)"

Personalization Printing has moved way beyond direct mail.

Our thanks to whattheythink.com -

Getting personal By Frank Romano, February 2, 2007 -- - For Premium Access Members

The world of 1:1 has moved way beyond direct mail. You can now get your name or other personal text on just about anything from baked goods (scone to scone printing?), labels, candy, and more. Here are a few new approaches to personalization:

Chocolate candies
Print your photo or any other artwork on chocolate candies.

Ketchup and mustard bottle labels
Put your own words on a Heinz ketchup and mustard bottle label.

Select a wine and design your own label from a palette of choices.

Soda pop
Select a flavor of Jones Soda and upload a digital photo for the label. You can also write a message for the label on the back of the bottle.

Branded steak
Pick the letters you want and they come pre-branded on each steak so guests know that you grilled their meat.
logo on a brand.

One side is yours to customize. You get two lines, 8 characters maximum per line. You can even get your logo printed instead of the text. The other side will have the famous "m." They say you can have your company colors but don't expect the Pantone set.

Wheaties box
Send in a photo and have it printed on a box of Wheaties. I have one and it is pretty neat.

Postage stamps
Upload a digital picture and it is printed onto stamps acceptable to the U.S. postal service. They are pressure sensitive and no licking is needed.

Custom labels
Put your name on elegant custom-designed labels, favor tags and coasters to create beautiful personalized wedding and party favors, food or craft gifts, bath creations, wedding CDs and DVDs, baby announcement CDs and more. Create book plates or serve your personal coasters to guests at dinner parties.

Personalized Halloween cookies
Gingerbread jack-o'-lantern cookies for your favorite little ghosts. The treats are then individually decorated and personalized with up to eight characters, including spaces.

Personalized whirly pops
Each sucker is 3 or 4 inches in diameter and are personalized with your choice of any design from the website and tied off with coordinating curled ribbons.
You can even add a photograph or logo.

Personalized perambulator
Graco unveiled a limited edition Graco Mosaic stroller custom printed by First2Print, a large-format fabric printing service.

And the winner for the most personalized product goes to art created from your DNA:
DNA 11 creates unique, high-end abstract art from DNA. Each individual piece of art is a one-of-a-kind stylized artistic representation of a person's genetic fingerprint. With a wide selection of colors and styles from which to choose, customers can customize the piece to reflect their personalities and best suit their home or office décor. Creating your own DNA Portrait is simple:

Step 1: Select your color and size options from online store.
Step 2: DNA 11 sends you a collection kit with instructions.
Step 3: Follow the step-by-step directions and send your DNA sample back to DNA labs using pre-addressed envelope.
Step 4: Your DNA sample is processed in a secure lab: DNA is extracted and run it on a "gel," then the gel is photographed using a special camera.
Step 5: DNA digitally enhances and customizes your DNA fingerprint. They then print your art piece on the highest quality canvas using our in house Giclee printer.
Step 6: Each art piece is visually inspected. Your art is then hand varnished and signed on the back by the founders of DNA 11.
Step 7: Your art piece is shipped rolled in a protective tube.
Step 8: You are accused of murdering Jimmy Hoffa in Michigan in 1975 (only kidding).

Lost in translation: The dark center of personalized food printing
Aunt Elsa was supposed to receive a customized cake from Wegmans Supermarket to celebrate her birthday. The part-English, part-Italian message was e-mailed into Wegmans and their digital cake printer (flatbread inkjet?). But the system had a disconnect with non-English glyphs. Why no one actually looked at the cake before sending it out is beyond us; although, cake proofreading is not a common occupation. Nevertheless, Aunt Elsa had a cake with a strange birthday message, and we presume even the 'supportEmptyParas' was tasty if not tasteful.

What font goes best with bakery products? Butter Scotch Bold.

What do you think? Please send feedback to Frank by e-mailing him at fxrppr@rit.edu

Frank Romano has spent over 40 years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East to Asia and Australia.

He is the author of over 44 books, including the 10,000-term Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications (with Richard Romano), the standard reference in the field. His books on QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, and PDF workflow were among the first in their fields. He has authored most of the books on digital printing. His latest book is the 800-page textbook for Moscow State University.

He has founded eight publications, serving as publisher or editor for TypeWorld/Electronic Publishing (which ended in its 30th year of publication), Computer Artist, Color Publishing, The Typographer, EP&P, and both the NCPA and PrintRIT Journals. His columns appear monthly in the Digital Printing Report. He is the editor of the EDSF Report.

Romano lectures extensively, having addressed virtually every club, association, group, and professional organization at one time or another. He is one of the industry's foremost keynote speakers.

He has consulted for major corporations, publishers, government, and other users of digital printing and publishing technology. He wrote the first report on on-demand digital printing in 1980 and ran the first conference on the subject in 1985. He has conceptualized many of the workflow and applications techniques of the industry and was the principal researcher on the landmark EDSF study, Printing in the Age of the Web and Beyond.

He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Times of London, USA Today, Business Week, Forbes, and many other newspapers and publications, as well as on TV and radio. He has partnered with InfoTrends on strategic information for the printing industry.

He continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects.

PPD, VDP: Sophisticated Technology/Flexible Solutions

- Unlimited formats for personalized URLs pointed to the domain of choice.
- Microsite creation and management using Adobe Dreamweaver.
- Database integration with Microsoft CRM, salesforce.com, GoldMine, ACT, and other SFA/CRM systems.
- External integration with such systems as templatemonster.com, surveymonkey.com,cevents.com, myspaces.com, Microsoft Live, and similar "build a survey," event registration, or other applications.
- Functionality accessibility through XML Web services.
- Additional controls for Microsoft Visual Studio to simplify API calls.
- Flexible reporting based on ASP.net user controls and Microsoft SQL Reporting Services.
PrintPlanet.com Industry News
February 2, 2007 - Printable Technologies, Inc.,today announced the acquisition of certain assets of Prospect Smarter Inc. to create the full spectrum of marketing campaign management tools. The combination of Printable Technologies' powerful data-driven direct mail solution and the sophisticated cross-media tools and workflow from Prospect Smarter goes beyond personalized URLs, beyond microsites, and beyond simple surveys and "thank you" emails to deliver a complete marketing campaign execution solution and the means to track the ROI of marketing campaigns.

"We listened to our clients tell us that they need the means to integrate on-line and off-line customer communication," said Coleman Kane, President/CEO of Printable Technologies. "We surveyed the marketplace for the best-of-breed multi-channel applications and discovered that no one offered the broad range of functionality available with the Prospect Smarter software. The combined solution gives our clients a marketing campaign execution platform that is both data-driven and event-driven and provides a broad selection of back-end reporting capabilities."

"Users are no longer limited to templated solutions that require them to fit their campaign workflow into a rigid process," Kane continued. "Our clients can now implement a solution that is based on their own business processes and workflow. Microsites can be as varied and unique as desired, and are easily managed through Macromedia Dreamweaver from Adobe, an industry-standard application.

"And having the ability to reference multiple relational databases ensures that the content is truly relevant. More important, the ability to integrate with ERP or SFA applications and provide real-time click-through results allows the user to trigger backend activities such as outbound telemarketing, e-mail responses, or other event-driven customer communication. It is the backend, 'closed-loop' response management and reporting that sets this platform apart from the applications currently offered."

"There are so many other solutions available on the market that are made up of disparate systems from multiple providers," said Steve Tingiris, President/CEO, Prospect Smarter, "which means that it is the user's responsibility to make them work together. This combination of technology into one platform from one provider is a real advantage. When we began to look 'under the hood' at the technology combination, we liked what we saw so much that we are now a Printable Technologies FusionPro Server customer. I want the best tools for my business, and this platform is truly best-of-breed; it's a solution that adapts to my customers' needs."

Sophisticated Technology/Flexible Solution
The Prospect Smarter technology introduces an extensive range of new functionality to the Printable Technologies multi-channel marketing platform, including:

- Unlimited formats for personalized URLs pointed to the domain of choice.
- Microsite creation and management using Adobe Dreamweaver.
- Database integration with Microsoft CRM, salesforce.com, GoldMine, ACT, and other SFA/CRM systems.
- External integration with such systems as templatemonster.com, surveymonkey.com, cevents.com, myspaces.com, Microsoft Live, and similar "build a survey," event registration, or other applications.
- Functionality accessibility through XML Web services.
- Additional controls for Microsoft Visual Studio to simplify API calls.
- Flexible reporting based on ASP.net user controls and Microsoft SQL Reporting Services.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

bob turner-metadata-digital asset management-dam-aaf-omf-umid-mxf-xml

bob turner-metadata-digital asset management-dam-aaf-omf-umid-mxf-xml:

"Metadata or data about data are the bits of that stream that complement the essence media and may include such data as timecode, sync, blanking, and color burst information.

Metadata may also include all sorts of descriptive data, such as where the sources originated, how they are composited, where the sources are located on the server or library, the type of special effects incorporated in the edited sequence, how the program is to be distributed, interactive authoring information, frame rates and aspect ratios, how to play this video in various playback devices, digital rights management, etc.

Media asset management (or the IT term DAM for digital asset management) is one of the fastest areas of development in postproduction today. Both displayed products and discussions of media asset management were dominant aspects of the recent NAB convention. In order to provide better communication and understanding, here are a few of the terms commonly used in these discussions and by media asset software manufacturers.

Note that a few of these are far more important to engineers or code-writers and less relevant to those of us who use the equipment or software they develop. But since the terms and acronyms appear before us from time to time, it is good to know what they mean."

NAA®: TechNews - Digital Asset Management 101

NAA®: TechNews - Digital Asset Management 101:

"If you decide to shop for a digital asset management system, keep the following questions in mind:

Is it customizable? No matter how feature-rich an asset manager is, you?ll need to mold it to the way you work.

Is it relational? Make sure that whatever you store in your asset manager has links to any and all related media.

Is it secure? Lots of different people?both inside and outside your organization?may need access to your media. Make sure you can control who gets to see what, and that your information is secure as it travels among computers.

Is it flexible? You should get client software allowing you to access your media on a Macintosh or PC. And you should be able to easily convert file formats so people on different computers can use it.

If you decide not to shop for a digital asset management system, third-party companies can organize and store your data for you. Some are specialized companies that do nothing but manage clients? media on their huge servers. Others are the same printers and service bureaus you may currently use for scanning, color correcting and/or printing.

Before settling on a service provider, at least check to see how much it would cost to buy and maintain your own system. The companies are as new as the software itself, so the time and money savings will vary greatly from provider to provider. Do your homework.

Brad Grimes is a senior editor for PC World magazine in Boston. E-mail, brad_grimes@ pcworld.com."

Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape -- CMS Watch

Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape -- CMS Watch:
"Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape
by Chris Lynn

Digital Asset Management ('DAM') has been around for a decade or more, but it is only in the last couple of years that mainstream I.T. analysts and reporters have paid much attention to it. In the meantime, some very powerful asset management technologies have emerged, but DAM is likely to play only a supporting role in larger corporate 'enterprise content management' (ECM) frameworks.

The Emergence of DAM

The term Digital Asset Management arose from the printing and publishing industry, and its variant, Media Asset Management (MAM) from the broadcast industry. CNN uses a system from IBM and Sony to manage their news archive, and large printers such as R.R.Donnelley have multiple DAM systems for storing and retrieving their clients? print ads, magazine pages, and catalogs. Even small ($5m annual revenues) pre-press shops will often have a hundred thousand dollars? worth of DAM software running on a server with a terabyte or more of RAID storage. This is no small investment, but one that is justified by the productivity gains that can accrue from the system, by the increased switching costs to help lock a client in, and ? as clients are given web-based access to their assets ? by the potential for incremental revenues.

But DAM remained a niche market until relatively recently, when several factors coincided to drive it toward the mainstream:

* The availability to low-cost storage to hold rich-media files online
* High-speed connectivity, both on the LAN and across the Internet, making the digital transfer of such files feasible
* The general 'democratization' caused by technology, so that work that was previously contracted out to a specialist can be done by the generalist user (of course, this has driven Web Content Management ? WCM ? as well).
* The desire of corporate marketing groups to become more efficient
* The beginnings of a confluence among document management, content management, knowledge management and DAM (of which more later)"

Cross-media convergence Digital Asset management

Electronic Publishing - Cross-media convergence: {2003}

"Nearly all customers shop through multiple channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, telephone- and mail-order catalogs, websites, and more. And the desire to purchase is often goaded by multiple media, whether print or Internet advertisements, hard-copy and online catalogs, trade-show and point-of-purchase displays, e-flyers, direct-mail pieces, and the like. As long as these trends continue, cross-media publishing is here to stay. Today, most retailers and distributors are overwhelmed by the number of disparate channels, systems, and projects they have to support.

'Most businesses are managing point-of-sale, catalog, flyer, and e-flyer projects; feeding CRM and DAM systems with product information; supplying e-catalog information to an e-procurement system; and synchronizing it all,' says Martin Le Sauteur, Flow Systems' CEO. 'Managing product information is one thing, but the ability to leverage and publish it over multiple channels is a big challenge for most companies. We wrap tools around our product information management system to distribute product information and drive sales.'"

DAM Options - DPS magazine_ Jan 2006

DAM Options - Jan 2006:

"DAM Options

Reviewing the solutions for incorporating digital asset management into your workflow.

By Wendell Benedetti

Whether operating a one-person firm or working for a multi-national corporation, it?s extremely important that electronic assets such as images, graphics, documents, and various types of archives are organized and managed correctly. They could be any thing from simple text files and individual digital images to complex PDF and Postscript documents, to computer presentations, or complete video productions. Some have been generated from hard copy documents and photographs, others are created entirely on the computer.

Regardless of how it?s created, an image or document that can?t be found and retrieved is useless. Finding and retrieving electronic assets can take time, especially for businesses that are spread across multiple sites, states or even countries. If it isn?t done correctly, asset management is a time consuming and potentially expensive proposition.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) applications make sure that electronic assets are organized, filed, and retrieved accurately and systematically. They not only save valuable time, they save money. In fact, they give companies the ability to leverage their valuable assets to create additional revenue streams.

While some DAM applications deal with historical documents and records, a growing number are designed to become part of a company?s real-time workflow. Images, text, video, and graphics files that would otherwise have been buried in archives are now being distributed and re-used as part of the primary workflow. This added functionality has been especially beneficial for companies that generate, store, and distribute content on a daily basis, such as motion picture studios, publishing houses, television networks, newspapers, and magazines.

To accommodate this growing use of DAM technology, software companies have developed and refined their products for real-time applications. The type of vendors and the products they produce vary widely. Some make generic solutions that are scalable. Others make specific software solutions that fit the needs of specific vertical markets."