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As the landscape changes…..

First and Foremost everyone, Hope you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Years!

As we approach 2011, I can not help but to think about what new changes it may bring. 2010 was a year of adversity, growth for some, learning for all, and strengthening for those of us still standing.

We have seen the digital era show it’s might in full force. From digital magazines, ipad apps, to the Nook, Kindle, and Ipad. Printers have attempted to bring the web into the printed product with QR Codes, Augmented Reality and becoming more active on social media sites. Printers are no longer just companies that put “ink on paper” and Publishers are no longer people that produce only one marketing tool.

As we continue to strive to integrate all aspects of marketing communications, it leaves me to wonder what could possibly be next? The answer is I have no idea, well I have some idea, but only speculation. Regardless of what comes next, I look forward to embracing those changes, adapting to our ever changing landscape, and becoming the best that I can be.

Let’s look forward to the future with great optimism, excitement, and the readiness to adapt. I know 2010 may have not been the greatest year for Publishers and Printers alike, but through this year we have all gotten stronger and better, and for that I am thankful.

The only for sure thing is that the landscape is going to continue to change, whether you keep up is up to you, but I hope to see you all along side me on this marathon with a smile!

Happy New Years ! See you in 2011!

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Correct Grain vs Cross Grain

I am going to tell you a little story, and admit to alot of you that I still have alot to learn! 🙂

As many of you know, the company I worked for, Conley Printing, was bought by J.B. Kenehan back in early September. Before, we were primarily a publications printer, and, not to toot my own horn, but this I know alot about. How to beat the USPS, offer econmical paper stocks, and to offer the most efficient way of creating your publication. NOW, our capabilities have vastly opened up, we can do slim jims, digest sized publications and the like because we have sheet fed capabilities and web presses that allow us to be competitive etc… Believe me, my eyes got pretty wide, and needless to say, I was and still am pretty excited about what we can do in house.

With these new capabilities comes a great amount of learning, and believe me, I am still learning! I recently bid on a publication. It was a digest sized publication, (when I say digest sized I am talking about publications that have a smaller trim size like 5 3/8x 8 3/8 etc). Although this was something that I probably wouldn’t have gone after in the past, with our new capabilities I went in confident knowing this was something we can do.

I got the job! I was estatic, busted out my happy dance which is a horrible version of the moon walk (ask any of my co-horts) and began planning. As soon as my boss came in, I ran up to tell him the good news, after listening to me he immediately asked me “Did you bid it cross grain or correct grain?” I looked at him the way a dog looks at you when he is thinking WTF are you talking to me like a baby for with their head titled sideways, (you know what I am talking about). A smile creeped across his face, it was more of a smirk, he could tell I didn’t know what he was talking about. I knew then I was about to be schooled as we walked into his office.

He put two publications on his desk in front of me, one was a signature and the other was a tabloid sized publication. “When we talk about correct grain, we are talking about printing and binding the publication with the grain of the paper,” he said as he opened up the signature sized publication. “Signature publications are typically always correct grain, so this is something you wouldn’t have had to worry about in the past.” Then he opened up the tabloid sized publication, “When we talk about cross grain, we talk about printing and binding the publication against the natural flow of the grain of the paper, tabloids are typically always cross grain on a web press so this is something you wouldn’t have had to worry about in the past.” He pointed towards the spine of the tabloid publication ” Do you see how it is wavy towards the binding, this is called puckering, and happens because the paper is bound cross grain, there is nothing you can do about it.”  Then he went on, “Digest sized publications and slim jims can either be done correct grain or cross grain, but it makes a huge difference in the price, it all depends on what the customer wants.”

I looked like a deer in headlights, and new exactly what he was getting at, was I about to give a client what they were expecting? I ran back to my desk, reviewed the RFQ, and there was no stipulation of cross or correct grain. Then I reviewed my bid, and found out that I had indeed bid the publication cross grain. So I picked up the phone, called the client, and asked them if they had a preference of cross grain or correct grain. I knew that same look on my face earlier when that question was posed to me was now on their face ” Noah, this is the first time we are doing this publication, and the first time we are using this trim size, can you explain to me what the difference is?” How could I blame them for not knowing when I didnt even know? I went on to tell them the differences, the difference in cost, quality, and so on.  Like many publishers in today’s market, they told me they wanted the best quality product for the least amount of cost.

With that, I explained to my boss what they had told me, and we agreed to honor the price for the cross grain, but produce it correct grain. In the end it was all worth it, the client absolutely loved the product, and this is all that truly mattered to us.

So, if you are going out to bid, make sure you are asking for exactly what you have in mind. The last thing any printer wants to do is to give you anything other than what you want. Should you not care about a little “puckering” towards the spine in order to get the best price possible then note it. Should you want the best product possible and are willing to pay more in costs, then you may want to note in your bid to quote correct grain. It all comes down to what fits the equipment which effects the pricing, a good printer should be able to show you all options.

Lucky for me I have an emormous resource of knowledge in printing surrounding me. Not everyone has that, so remember if you are going out to bid, make sure you are getting what you want. Grain isn’t something you only find in your cereal bowl or in a field, it is something that effects the price and look of your publication as well!

FYI ….Here is another blog about correct grain printing that I think you will find explains it more in depth http://www.authorsandspeakersnetwork.com/danpoynter3.html

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Books, Publishing, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments