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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Truth About Bar Codes — Size Matters

From: BookCoverDesigner: bookcoverdesigner@yahoo.ca
Posted to Publish-l forum 10/26/2007

"Bar codes seem to be a never-ending point of contention. I frequently get eMails from clients about bar codes saying things like, 'it's too big. It's much bigger than the ones on the books I have here.' That's quite possible. Here's why: People often confuse UPC bar codes with Bookland EAN bar codes; since going to the 13-digit ISBN (Jan. 2007), bar codes have to be longer just to incorporate the extra numbers; most authors will now need to have the price embedded into the bar code, whereas this wasn't always necessary in the past. The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has conveniently published the guidelines for bar codes on their site, and here's what they say: The Bookland EAN symbol, which always includes the 5-digit add-on, is 1' high x 2-3/16' wide at 100% magnification. At 80% magnification the overall size is approximately 13/16' high x 1-3/4' wide. Magnification may be any size between 80% and 200%. For offset printing it should not be necessary to print larger than 100%. (NOTE: Width is measured with a 3/32 inch 'quiet zone' on either side of bars. Height is measured from the top of the bars to the bottom of the numbers below the bars.)”"

"There is a crisis in print buying By Frank Romano October 26, 2007

WhatTheyThink.com - Print's Home Page: "There is a crisis in print buying By Frank Romano October 26, 2007 -- This week Margie Dana asked the question 'Is there is a crisis in print buying?' and I am here to say there is. In less than a decade we have gone from print buying professionals fully supported by their organizations to production and design professionals who, by the way, also buy print. Printing buying is now ancillary to other jobs. There are 23,000 full-timers who buy print in the United States and they purchase about 70 percent of all print and packaging. Less than 10 percent have print buying in heir titles. Another 92,000 buyers are involved in varying degrees, but virtually everyone else in the nation buys print at some time—from imprinted holiday cards to posters seeking a lost pet."

Information about print buying is scant. The reason is that print buyers, like designers, do not congregate. It is hard to find them because there is no common communication medium. Those that can be found tend to be the really larger print buyers and their data may not be representative of the entire market. But there is hope.

On November 7 and 8 in Westford, MA, the 2nd annual Boston Print Buyers Conference will take place. It brings together print buyers from New England, across the U.S., and even a few international buyers. What is most interesting is that over one hundred buyers signed up for the Print Buyers Boot Camp on November 6th, a basic course in printing and print buying. This is now the must-attend conference for anyone who buys print. Go to www.bostonprintbuyers.com and check it out.

E-commerce is said to be re-inventing the printing business. But it is not as easy as it sounds. E-commerce companies want to automate the process of originating, specifying, estimating, bidding, scheduling, tracking, and managing print. Some of the sources of print welcome this. Some will continue to rely on the primary interface between buyer and seller: the sales representative. But, with the Internet, the customer is evolving into the sales person and the service person.

Complex and very complex jobs account for 60 percent of the revenue of the printing industry. An oversimplified workflow: one third prep and program, one third print, and one third finish. In other words, most printed products are complex because they use multiple steps in the printing process, and the more complex the product the more it needs a godfather (or godmother). What is scary is that many complex print jobs are often initiated without any consultation with the printer.

Thus, I contend that there is a crisis in print buying and the need to educate the latest generation of buyers is critical. Good buyers make good customers—and they also help to make printers better as well.