Let’s Check in with the Printing Industry

June 11, 2009

With all of the attention these days focused on newspapers, eBooks and Twittering, I thought it might be time to check in on the printing industry, the background engine for so much of the country’s publishing activity.

My colleague Howie Fenton works at the NAPL, which though not the largest, is I think the finest  trade organization serving printing companies. Amongst its many virtues, the organization has an excellent economist on staff, Andy Paparozzi.

In Howie Fenton’s latest blog entry on Graphic Arts Monthly he points out the the latest NAPL economic research “has both good news and bad news,” although I have to say I’m hard-pressed to find the good news. Howie reports that “according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, total production hours in the commercial printing industry were down 14.2% in the first quarter of this year from a year ago.”

Further, commercial print sales are down by about 15% in the first quarter.

And meanwhile the largest printer in the U.S. (R.R. Donnelley) is actively engaged in trying to take over the second largest print in North America (Quebecor). (Update late June: Quebecor has rejected Donnelley’s offers and is still trying to renogitate with creditors.)

OK, I’m changing the channel now…next up, if the Kindle is selling so well, why was E-Ink Corporation sold at fire sale prices?

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The Adobe-FedEx/Kinko’s Non-Event Concludes Uneventfully

August 1, 2007

The news reports are trickling in tonight regarding today’s prepared statement from Adobe, served with a heaping helping of humble pie, announcing that it will remove the “Send to FedEx Kinko” button and menu option from the 8.1.1 update of Acrobat Reader, planned for an October 2007 release.

The printing industry is tonight dancing on its presses, tossing its righteous indignation into the recycle bin, and praising Adobe for its responsible response.

Joe Truncale, who runs the respected printing trade group the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) is quoted as saying “We’re pleased that Adobe was responsive”. Clearly this was a mistake, and Adobe admitted that. I haven’t seen Adobe’s statement, but more likely the phrase should be “and Adobe implicitly admitted that…”

Michael Makin, who runs the larger printing trade organization PIA/GATF noted in a press release that “We recognize that the company must have had to move mountains to retreat on its position, and we commend Adobe for its swift action;” they have clearly restored confidence in our long-lasting partnership.”

For a provocative and amusing counterpoint to how printing companies were handling this “outrage,” check out my friend and colleague Gene Gable’s column on creativepro.com.

The summer storm has passed. The only recorded injuries were to pride (and, I imagine, corporate relations between Adobe and FedEx).

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