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The Future of Printing

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  • The Future of Printing

    Hello guys...

    What is the future of printing regarding all the technoligy around us? Is the print industry going to die in coming years or will it just take another turn to adjust to new thinking and consumer ways?

    The internet is one of the most potent advertising media you can use regarding information to consumer. Is it going to effect the industry in that sense that people will loose jobs or will this create new barriers for us to overcome or will the "black art" die as we know it?

    Would be nice to get your tought´s on this one:-)

    Regards from Iceland.

  • #2
    Re: The Future of Printing

    and the sky is falling too. I my opinion print is here for a good while longer. How do you sell a box of cereal. carton of cigarettes. you can't wrap it in an online box. you will still be needing the epa or fda warning/usage booklet in your food, drug and chemical orders. you have to wrap the mcdonald egg mcmuffin in something. still need coupons although that is changing to discount store cards. You will still be getting paper bills for a good 20 more years. news papers will be the hardest hit in the next 20 years. Our local paper is getting hit hard by the radio stations online paper. frankly I wouldn't mind seeing the paper disappear. they make a lot of dollars in advertising and then give away the printing. there seems to be a huge amount of consolidation in the small newspaper business. gatehouse owns almost every paper in our area. I am betting that they consolidate to a regional paper soon. any way I think that print will be around atleast until I retire. I am 37.


    • #3
      Re: The Future of Printing

      Hey, hey. My,my. Offset print will never die. Been around forever and it's here to stay.
      Offset print will never die.
      Gutenberg is dead but he's not forgotten. This is the story of Benjamin Franklin. Dots are better than pixels, they just fade away. Print aint dead and won't be forgotten.

      Apologies to Neil Young.


      • #4
        Re: The Future of Printing

        Well, hopefully print will not die in our lifetime.

        But can little printshops withstand all the inovations in media distrubution? As you point out Rob we will have many kind of wraps and packs that rely on printing to manufactor it. But not all printers can have the same jobs to make a living on. This is not a question if print will die - we will see a major declining in the industry´s revenues and profits. F. eks. many stores/supermarkets are using plasmascreens to advertise new products and pricies, wich where otherwise printed. What about the bankingindustry, bills and ect. You can now tell them not to send you any papers, it pops up in your account in your own homebank online. I could go on...

        Will the future be big printing facility´s and no small local printers? Well i think that in the next 10-15 years we will see this happen - and here in Iceland, (witch is a very small market in all sense) we are seeing printers closing shops. Icelanders tend to crasp all the new inovations in media and publishing and the market changes rapitly. And for us who work in printing, we have to change too and evolve.

        But i hope printing will live forever, as do we all i think:-)

        Best regards...


        • #5
          Re: The Future of Printing

          you see the new mimjet technology? it's still basically just in development and already impressive. It could spell the end of offset.

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          • #6
            Re: The Future of Printing

            Printing itself won't go away, but with the new technologies in inkjet and digital printing in general, offset will take a hit for sure. Will it die? Probably not for a good long while, but profit margins will likely shrink...more so.


            • #7
              Re: The Future of Printing

              I was just talking to a paper salesman. the term he used was. there are just too many cylinders around for anyone to make a profit. here is central illinois that is definately the case. too many mom and pops working 60+ hours and very little profit. a bunch of under utilized big dogs. and the squeeze is on.


              • #8
                Re: The Future of Printing

                my .014 Euro worth...
                there will always be book printers. All other may go digital, web, multimedia, projected on walls, writen across the sky, whatever, but nothing will ever replace reading (and holding) a good book.
                or am I dreaming?


                • #9
                  Re: The Future of Printing

                  books on tape the only way I "read". didnt some one have an ebook, when your done just download a new one.


                  • #10
                    Re: The Future of Printing

                    the ebooks never really caught on as I remember because at that time the screen resolution just wasn't there yet.
                    There is, for me, something about flipping the pages and the intangible feel of a real book that I hope never goes away-
                    know what I mean?

                    Edited by: tapdn on Sep 26, 2007 9:40 AM


                    • #11
                      Re: The Future of Printing

                      tough times are ahead. it wont be in the next 10 years, but it is coming. a large printer in down state just closed they used to print college catalogs. every college seems to be going online. a rigger we know just removed several presses from a rr donley facility. I heard a rumor that a college system in texas had their catalogs printed in china.


                      • #12
                        Re: The Future of Printing

                        I think we'll see really big printing factories. The little shops will , very likely, fall by the wayside in the near future. Out here in Montana it's a little market way off the beaten path. The die off of the little shops will reach us later but it will. The equipment is just too expensive for the Mom & Pops. It will always be about more work faster and the only way to do that is with the newest high speed presses. I also believe that home computers and printers will get more sophisticated and that quite soon just about anybody will be able to print good quality letterheads, envelopes and business cards at home. Of course, along with that, the photoshop type software for PC's will get easier to use for the average person and many people won't need the pre-press services of a good print shop. But I really don't believe that very high quality work on big presses will ever go away. Printers overseas have the edge with cheap labor and only a major market correction on the order of 1929 will reverse that. And I refuse to believe that the pressmans craft will ever die. There will always be a need for someone to pull the paper out of the rollers.


                        • #13
                          Re: The Future of Printing

                          This is a cool question, and I decided to blog it here as well:

                          Here’s my prediction on the future of print

                          First, a few observations:

                          1. The Internet is NOT the most potent advertising medium anyone can use. At least, the advertising I respond to most frequently is on a magazine page, not a web page. Internet advertising is by FAR the most accessible advertising medium anyone can use. With many providers (i.e. Adwords) you can be advertising anything worldwide in multiple languages in less than half an hour for $5 or so. Try that with print.
                          2. I haven’t yet replaced the magazine rack in my bathroom with a computer, despite there being room and an unused laptop in the house. We have about 4 magazines that we get, along with various catalogs we hang onto. With a small house and two small kids, the bathroom doubles as the reading room ;-).
                          3. I do not like paperless statements. Anything advertised on a statement is blackballed immediately.
                          4. I don’t hang onto but one catalog from a company. Land’s End - you send me a new catalog about every other week. As an employee of QuadGraphics, I think you profusely. As a customer, I need only the Men’s version, and only when you offer something really new.
                          5. The printed material I get that is personalized is increasing in quality, or at the least is holding in quality. Meaning the quality of the paper, special features like embossing, etc.
                          6. The printed material I get that is not personalized is generally decreasing in quality, with the exception of Men’s Health magazine, which is becoming a few flimsy Ed. pages slipped in between massive thick fragrance, fashion and car ads.

                          I think some kinds of print are going to die, but some new kinds of print will be created. The net effect will be more printing of items that can be personalized and that benefit from the nature of print (the permanence, readability, etc.) to carry an unwritten message. There will be less of those items that just work much better on the ‘net. Like classified ads, many kinds of reference material, some of the market for books & catalogs, and most newsletters.

                          When I worked in engineering I started at a company that still used drafting boards, and currently work for a company that’s pretty much paperless in terms of drawings. At least, we don’t have much use for large format plotter/printers anymore. The trend seemed to be that the volume of paper on an engineer’s desk skyrocketed as the company adopted CAD, but then as the automation was fully internalized the engineer’s need for a paper copy (for reviewing, proofing, etc) quickly went away and those piles disappeared very quickly.

                          I think print markets will mirror that. Following a surge of printing in some markets driven by the internet we’ll see a decline as new generations not addicted to paper for every application filter out those applications where printing really adds value. I think this will happen pretty quickly in a given region, but the world being diverse as it is it will be slow globally speaking.

                          The printing that’s left over will be either very low quality/low cost in applications where printing’s the only solution (direct mail advertising works better than direct email advertising), or high quality/high personalization/high value added because it is a piece of a larger communication offering.

                          For example, consider what’s happening to magazines. Thinner paper, smaller trim sizes, etc. - they’re moving to low cost because the print version magazine competes with the internet offering. Now imagine that we have full variable data printing, and the magazine can now be personalized to contain the stuff the reader wants and adds a lot more value. Now the subscriber is buying the paper version because it’s paper, and will want more of the qualities that paper has to offer and will be willing to pay for them.

                          Same with brochures. When they’re a high-volume give-away they need to be cheaper to produce. When they can carry more value, they can cost more.

                          So to summarize, print’s always going to be around. There will be less of it, and it will be either a lot more efficient or a lot more innovative than it is now


                          • #14
                            Re: The Future of Printing

                            At my printshop the digital section is taking a huge hit at the moment... I work at a Uni and all of the course material is moving to online distribution. Our offset section is flourishing but only because we have built it up over the years, taking on more external work, and improving turnaround times through technology advances and better processes. All I can say is I don't think I will be steering my kids into the printing industry!

                            Cheers, Tony


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