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Social Media Through The Eyes of a Child

 “Dad, when are you going to be done with the computer? I want to go on Youtube!” my 9-year-old daughter said with annoyance in her voice. “Yeah dad, get off the computah, I want YouTube and watch Goosebumps, hurry up” my soon to be 4 year old chimes in right behind his big sister.

This literally happens every day in my household, several times a day. I never thought I would be competing with my kids for computer time, because when I was a kid I was playing with GI Joes and Monster Trucks. Oh, how times have changed!

“Guys, you like YouTube?” and both of them shook their heads while jumping in the air as if the Packers just won the Super Bowl all over again.

“What is it that you like so much about YouTube?” They looked at me as if they couldn’t comprehend the question, as if it was “the world’s dumbest” question ever asked!

“Well duh dad” my 9-year-old daughter began, ” I can watch i-carly clips, Lemonade Mouth music videos” ….”Don’t forget Goosebumps, I like that” my son with hand raised was squealing through his wide smile.

“Well guys, what if I told you I was on YouTube?” They both looked at me as if to say “Yeah right dad, you’re not that cool!” It’s a sad day when your kids stop believing your cool 🙂 ! So I pulled up a video I had made on YouTube, and hit play.

Their faces said it all, my son screamed “you’re a star” and my daughter asked “How did you do that? I want to be on YouTube!” The astonishment they both were feeling made me feel happy, because I once again became cool!

But there is more to learn here than “How to get your kids to still think you are cool!” So I took it a step further, and asked my son and daughter, “What if I told you I was in a magazine?”

I was half thinking they wouldn’t care, but they both again told me to “prove it” with the same excitement. I pulled out a magazine that used some of my quotes and had given me credit for them, and showed the two miniature YouTube experts that were standing in my office. They couldn’t believe it, and were just as excited.

The next day I came home from work, on the fridge hung the magazine article I was mentioned in cut out, and pasted to an orange paper background that had hearts all over it. When I walked into the living room I could hear my own voice, but I wasn’t speaking. So I walked into the office, and there were the two of them watching me on YouTube.

Sure my kids were proud of me, but that isn’t the lesson I am looking to point out here. What I am saying is the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Change is inevitable, I never would have thought kids would be so caught up in things such as social media. I recently read a blog that stated 72% of internet users are on social media, I can’t believe it isn’t more than that!

However, because there is change, doesn’t mean that things from our past aren’t as relevant as they ever were before. Maybe even more relevant? Studies have shown print still offers the highest credibility to your message and ad.

Take it from my two YouTube experts, seeing their dad on YouTube was pretty cool and “in the now” trendy, but being in the magazine solidified that I was still their cool dad!

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Relationships, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What my graduation taught me about technology!

Tassle on the left side check, ok Noah, remember, take diploma with left hand shake with the right hand, don’t fall, don’t walk too fast.

“Melissa Karger, summa cum laude” the speakers boomed through the auditorium, one person left in front of me then it was my turn to step up onto the stage.

Where is my family, man there are alot of people here, why are my hands shaking, oh man I am sweating so bad…. thoughts were running through my mind like a run away freight train.

“Mark Knable” the speakers boomed, I was up next, and then I saw them in the sea of people, my wife and children waving frantically at me as if they had been trying to get my attention for some time. A kiss blown from my wife now landed on my cheek, the look of pride in my childrens eyes filled me with strength, and in that very short moment, my journey to what brought me to this very step flashed before my eyes.

Ten years prior I was a high school graduate beginnig my first semester at college. More scared, and nervous than excited, because unlike many other kids, I had no idea what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Two years of college, and feeling like I may be the only one at the university without a hint or a clue of what I wanted to do, I dropped out and entered the work force.

There was no going back now, and a few years passed. Feeling the regret of not finishing college, I heard of something I had never heard of before, you can go to college online! Wow, this was new and exciting to me, now having kids and a full time job I may be able still get that degree! Who knew you could go to college online, well it turned out this was something that many colleges had just started expirementing with.

So I jumped at the opportunity, and enrolled with a renewed confidence in knowing where I wanted to go in life. Life was good, and I found a new home with my current employer. I began traveling to meet with people, but dragging these heavy text books and laptop everywhere I went so I didn’t miss an assignment or posting was becoming quite the hassle!

Then came along this wonderful new thing, called a Kindle. I quickly found out that many of my textbooks could be downloaded right to the Kindle itself, making my business trips much less cumbersome. Then another new thing, there was an app for Blackboard (online program) and I could access it from my smart phone (or i pad if I had one) no more lugging around the laptop.

Technology helped me out tremendously, and made my life much more convenient on those trips. Every time I got home though, I always went for the printed textbook, and the laptop.

“Sir” the days and months that just flashed before me were gone and I was again back in the auditorium, “do you pronounce the K in Knoble?” the speaker asked and I shook my head violently yes. “Noah Knoble” boomed the speakers and my name echoed throughout, shake with right grab with the left, check, walking slow, check, smile and breathe….check!

The moral of what college and graduation taught me about technology is that it is very convenient and makes many of our lives much easier. However, it’s also nice just to have the “real thing”  and finding that balance is the key.

Believe me when I say while I was looking at the pride that filled my children’s eyes that day, I too looked back at them with just as much pride in them. Bonds are what hold us together, something physical, but technology will allow us to keep those bonds strong when they eventually reach the day that they hear their name being called through the speakers.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, Relationships, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free, Fast and….WHAT!?!?

You take your family out to eat, to a nice restaurant, and the food was so amazing, you don’t even care how much the bill is, and you add a $10 tip on to it! You get home, look at the bill, and start to think, what can I do to eliminate paying for my food, but still enjoy that great taste!

Quickly, you jump on the internet and find out you can order the food to be delivered to your home. They have a 15 minute guanrantee, and best yet…..it is FREE! You don’t have to pay one single dime, no tip, as long as they deliver the food to you, it is 100% free.

What if the world was like this? People would probably stop dining out and start ordering in in a heart beat!

I am here to tell you the world is like this, at least in the publishing industry it is! (OK, now stop shaking your head no, rolling your eyes, and read on Yoda)

How many of you are printing a publication, have a cover price of $4.95 for newsstand and $25.95 for subscriptions (The room raises their hands). Now, how many of you are producing a digital magazine and giving it away for free? (Faces turn red, but hands remained raised!) Why are you doing this? Is this not playing into commoditizing yourself?

Think back to my restaurant scenario. Are they selling food, or are they selling a place to sit?….Of course they are in business to sell food (that’s their content)!

“Well Noah, digital is about 10-20% of the costs for a printed product, so we can afford to give it away online for free.” I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were selling print (I thought I was), I thought you were selling content? After all, isn’t that what publishing is about, content?

With the many free digital magazines, but with costs to have a printed magazine, leaves me pondering, what is driving consumers to digital? Is it the convenience and “now” factor of it? Or is it that the consumer has simply become savy enough to know how to get your content for free?

Publishers, never forget what it is that you makes your business successful, sought after, and recognizeable ….it is not the delivery vehichle of the content, it is the content itself. This is what makes you, you!

No, this is not a blog against digital magazines, in fact I support them! I think they are a great way to supplement your printed magazine, and help you increase your market share. I do think, if you are charging for your printed magazine, then it would only make sense to charge for your digital magazine. Many digital magazines have subscriber options, with teaser options that allow the reader to see the first few pages, and if they want to see more then they have to subscribe.

This blog is for you Mr/Mrs. Content Provider, because when I see you starting to forget what makes you valuable, it is my duty to tell you that it isn’t how you deliver the content, its that great taste, feeling, education, you give me from your content itself!

Don’t ever forget that.

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Could Paper Reduce Deforestation?YES!

 

Disclaimer: This was not meant as a blog post, this was a paper I wrote for a college course….it is very long, but well worth the read!

How many times have you received an email from someone, and at the bottom of that email it says “before you print this email, think about the environment?”  I get these e-mails every day, several times a day, from people all over the country, and I am sure you do too. Maybe you are even one of these people that have it saved as a signature to your email? The reason behind the perception here is that by reducing our usage of paper, we believe that we will be doing our part to reduce deforestation and save trees worldwide. Now, what if I was to tell you that by not using paper, you are effectively speeding up the process of deforestation? Would you think twice about hitting print then? Would you look beyond all the propaganda to see what it truly means to be green? Or would you just laugh and delete these facts from your computer screen because they can’t possibly be true?

            Everyone has their own definition of what it is to be “green” from purchasing a hybrid car, recycling more, down to carpooling. Surely, by not using paper you will be able to save trees, which can only be good for the environment, right? Well think about this, if that land is no longer used to responsibly harvest trees, then someone else is going to use it to make a profit in some other shape or form such as land development. Then, think about all the parts that go into a computer, you begin to wonder, is it really more environmentally friendly to campaign against the use of paper? Once you see the facts regarding paper use, my hopes are that you will see that using paper actually helps to responsibly maintain our forestland.

            Forests in the United States cover the same amount of our landscape today as they have for the past 100 years. In fact, today the U.S has 20% more trees than it did 25 years ago (http://www.afandpa.org/forestry.aspxid=406&linkidentifier=id&itemid=406). However, population growth, and changes in ownership of the forestland could drastically alter the landscape in the next few decades. More than 1/3 (750 million acres) of the United States is covered in forestland. Of that, 56% is owned by private owners, for example, commercial or family owned lands. Of that privately helped forestland, a recent survey by the USDA has shown that 25% of these owners plan on transferring or selling the land rights.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html) So what’s the problem with this scenario? Why is this a growing trend now? The answer lies in the landowner’s profits.  Profits now have been drastically reduced with the campaigning to phase out paper.  Reduced profits means that if there is less money to be made by these private land owners, they will look to selling the land to developers, and selling the land to developers means massive amounts of forestland being destroyed…permanently!

Environmental Issues

            What can be the harm if we lost 56% of our forestland that is held by private ownership? The losses are huge, 60% of at risk plant and wildlife are associated with our forestland. These species of wildlife and plant life would go from being at risk, to protected, in a few short years. This is also so important because one acre of forestland alone produces enough oxygen to support eighteen people annually. Two thirds of our natural water resources flow from our forestlands, the better maintained the land the less polluted the water.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html) The private landowners are the keepers of the ecosystem, as well as our natural resources, and the profits from trees allow them to maintain the land as it should be. At the current rate of deforestation in the rain forest, there will be no rain forest left  100 years from now.(http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html) Domestically, 56% of the forestland is owned by private land owners, and of that amount, 25% plan to sell the land to urban developers or utilize it for agriculture or commercial developments that will yield higher profits instead of allowing paper mills to manage the forests responsibly.http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html)

So what happens with the loss of all of this forestland? First and foremost, the ecosystem will be completely destroyed. With over 70% of plant and animal life living in forests, hundreds if not thousands of plant and animal life will be endangered or completely lost. It will be highly unlikely that they will be able to recover at the rate we are cutting down our trees and utilizing the land for development. Second, deforestation impacts our climate. Leaves and canopies protect the forest floor from harmful sun rays, and without them the soil will quickly dry up killing all plant life. In addition, trees help perpetuate water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without forests, the land would become much like a desert, and temperature swings will be very severe. Next, trees absorb carbon monoxide (CO2) and emit oxygen into the atmosphere. Remember, one single acre of forestland emits enough oxygen to sustain 18 people every year. In addition, trees catch and provide us with millions of gallons of clean rain water every year. Less trees means less natural clean rain water for our usage.(http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html)

A recent study, done by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland showed that greenhouse gas emissions produced by a single newspaper during its entire life cycle correspond to a car journey of approximately one kilometer. The carbon footprint of a book bought from a store is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a car journey of approximately 7 kilometers. The carbon footprint of an annual volume of weekly magazines is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a journey of 45 kilometres by a car. The carbon footprint of a book is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a journey about 7 kilometres by a car. The contribution of newspapers, books, and other paper products to the climate impacts of consumption by Finnish households in 2005 was small (approximately 1%). The biggest climate impacts of consumption by Finnish households were attributable to housing (28%), food products (16%), and transport (13%). The most efficient way to reduce environmental impacts is to lower the consumption of energy and fuels at different stages of the life cycle. Other important ways to reduce environmental impacts include reducing the amount of raw materials and using materials more efficiently. (http://www.ceepackaging.com/2011/03/24/print-contributes-little-to-carbon-footrpint/)

Social Issues

The perception that paper mills are the ones to blame, and that by stamping out the usage of paper is going to make a positive difference in the environment is simply wrong. In the Amazon alone, 60-70% of deforestation takes place due to ranchers. In the U.S., between now and the year 2030, 57 million acres of forestland are expected to be destroyed as to see an increase in housing.( http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html) Currently, many urban developers are seeking to clear out forests to make growth for communities, use raw materials for building houses and furniture. Other economic reasons for deforestation here in the United States are agricultural in nature in efforts to allow the indigenous people’s cattle to roam and feed, or to plant crops that yield higher profits. With either of these situations, the trees are not being re- planted and the land is being converted for other uses.  All the signs point to the use of agriculture, urban development, and not properly managing forestland by using improper techniques such as clear cutting.

Economic Issues

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Industry companies produce about $175 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 48 states. With less paper being used, means less demand, which also equates to the loss of jobs of one of the biggest manufacturing markets in our country.( http://www.afandpa.org/ourindustry.aspx?id=35)

Opponents of paper usage will claim that to produce paper requires too much energy. This is simply not true, in the US paper mills are the largest consumer and producer of renewable energy. Working in this field as a printer, we too benefit from this as we utilize our paper mills renewable energy whenever possible. Paper can be used over and over again, as it is an infinitely renewable resource, and is very easily recyclable. To put things into perspective better, think about technology today, with a new version of the latest computer, cell phone, etc. coming out every year and being purchased by consumers rapidly, you have to ask yourself what happens to the old equipment? People throw it away to get the next latest and greatest consumer product. One must then consider all the input and output that goes into making these devices, where they end up, and how often they are actually reusable and if they are, are they actually being reused?  Right now, 3.2 million tons of electronic trash is dumped into our landfills every year. Compared to paper, with more states setting up recycling programs at local levels throughout, 89% of newspapers, 72% of boxes, and 66% of office paper is being recycled right now and with increased awareness regarding this issue we will reach the high 90 percentiles in just a few short years. (http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm)

The key to all of this is sustainability, responsibility, accountability and proper knowledge. With many watch dog agencies like that of the FSC, Rain Forest Alliance, Sustainable Forest Initiative, and many more, there has been a standard created for land owners, paper mills, and printers to follow. Over 25% of private land owners carry a certification from one of these watch dog agencies that ensures trees are replanted (paper mills re plant 3-4 times more trees than they cut down), paper waste is recycled, and renewable resources are utilized.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html)

So What’s The Issue?

When it comes right down to it, it’s the perception of the people regarding the use of paper that needs to change. All too often we listen to what we hear on television, we then quickly and easily allow this information to become “fact”.  The challenge here is to think about deforestation critically, and to see the issue from all sides in an unbiased manner. We see a tree being cut down for our use, and immediately we believe if we no longer use the product that the tree is being harvested for, the trees will be saved. Think of the opportunity cost of harvesting trees by paper mills. If there are no profits to be had, then the land will be used in another way in order to gain profits, all which lead to no trees being re planted what so ever.

We are all correct in believing that deforestation is a major problem, not only locally, but also globally. The best way to combat deforestation is to ensure the people that make a profit off the land continue to protect their profits by responsibly using, and replanting the trees. This only makes good business sense, should there no longer be a channel to reap the profits of their labor, its only common sense that they look at the next best thing. In most cases, this will be to sell the land to an urban developer, or use the land for agricultural issues. In both cases, we lose critical habitat and no re planting is done.

Now that the issue of using paper is clarified there is more work to be done. The first step is to re brand paper products as the only infinite renewable source in the world, which it is. The second step is to produce the facts for the real reasons of deforestation, and with that comes a responsibility to manage our forests before it is too late and urban developers have created new cities and homes to be moved in to. Last we need a call to the people to look beyond the surface, and dig deeper into the problem to find the true reasons for the problem in order to find the right solution.

The true solution, recycle! That is where the emphasis needs to be put, not on attacking paper which will only put thousands of people out of work, increase deforestation, and hurt our environment the most. It is important to remember all things are linked together, if we take away paper, we will see all of these statistics drastically reduced, which will only lead to more job losses:

  • Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.
  • Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.
  • Recycling creates four jobs for every one job created in the waste management and disposal industries.

(http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-benefits.html)

As you can see, if we follow the crumb trail, not using paper will devastate our economy and environment. Socially, we all need to make a change and take it upon ourselves to look beyond the rhetoric to get to the true source.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Paper, Printing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Tips to reduce your paper costs..

My friends, it is official, all paper mills have announced rate increases effective 4/1/2011 of an additional $2 per CWT. If you are wondering what compromises you can make to not only budget for this rate increase, but possibly reduce your paper costs, then this blog is for you!

  1. Look at backing off on the brightness of the paper. Let’s say you are printing on a 60# No. 3 gloss with a brightness of 87, well there is also a 60# No.3 with a brightness of 84 that will offer you a savings. You can also look into #4’s with brightness of 76 or #5s which are typically around a 72 Brightness. The bottom line here, if you are willing to compromise on the brightness of your paper stocks, you will reduce your paper costs. In addition, this is an effective method that doesn’t scream “I changed my magazine” to your readers and advertisers alike. Subtle changes like this can save you money in a big way.
  2. Look at reducing your basis weight of your paper stocks. You might be thinking to yourself “I can’t do that, everyone will notice” then my question to you my friend is how serious are you about reducing costs? The key here again are subtle changes to keep it as unnoticeable as possible. For example if you are on a 70# paper, look to a 60#, if you are on a 50#, look to a 45#…I think you get it….. Keep in mind too, the less your publications weighs, the more savings you will see in postal costs as well.
  3. Remove your cover! I know this one isn’t going to be for everyone, I realize this. But if you are willing to make a drastic change to reduce costs, then this one would be right up your alley. Many publications have a 4 pg cover over the inside pages. Get rid of it! If your inside pages are on a lighter basis weight paper stock such as a 38# and you are utilizing a 80 or 100# cover to protect it, look to bump your inside pages up to a 50# or 60#, you will still see a savings. I know many advertisers pay top dollar for positioning on the cover, they can still have quality positioning within the publication, and with the amount you will be saving you may be able to offer them two ad spaces at a discount to keep them happy. Based on your print quantities, savings can be enormous.
  4. Change your trim size. I love big, and truly believe the larger your publication the more readers and advertisers you will attract. HOWEVER, I realize this is a very simple way to reduce paper costs and mailing costs. Again subtle changes such as 10×13 print in 16 pg forms, at a 10×12 we can print you in 24 pg forms. 10×12 prints in 24 pg forms, at a 9×10 7/8 we can print in 32 pg forms. The more pages in a form, the less your paper and press costs. From there, you can look to reduce your trim to whatever compromise you are willing to make because most printers tap out at 32 page forms. Changing your trim size to reduce your paper consumption can yield a very nice savings depending on your print quantities.
  5. This one I was on the fence about, but am going to put here anyway. You may be able to reduce your paper costs by supplying your own paper. Printers typically purchase paper directly from the paper mills. You can look to paper brokers to see if you may be able to find a better cost on your paper stocks.Here is the caution, this paper is sometimes a “secondary paper” meaning there are imperfections in the paper. In addition, printers typically charge a paper handling fee if you are supplying your own paper. The amount you are saving by supplying your own paper may be eaten up by the handling fee, and now you have one more thing on your plate which is the paper broker. If you are going to supply your own paper, make sure your printer is involved with the process. Get samples of the paper, send those samples to the printer so they can evaluate it as well. I would suggest allowing the printer to supply the paper, however, I wouldn’t be completely honest with all of you if I didn’t recognize that this was another way to reduce your paper costs.

In case you didn’t notice, the theme was subtle changes to reduce costs. I can think up some very drastic changes to reduce costs such as going from gloss to newsprint, going from heatset to coldset ect….. I believe protecting the integrity of your publication while doing everything possible to reduce your costs will lead to your longterm success as we fight through these tough economic times and rate increases.

Talk to your print rep, I am more than just a salesman. Without you there is no me, I will be here to help in anyway that I can be which is more than just providing you numbers.

February 27, 2011 Posted by | Mailing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Could paper prices be on the rise….AGAIN!?

Ok, make sure you are seated and hanging on to something because this announcement is sure to make you fall over…..

Two paper mills (Verso and Kruger) have announced paper price increases effective 4/1/2011. They will be increasing prices on all coated paper grades by $2.00 per cwt. We will have to wait and see if the other paper mills join with this push to increase paper costs…. I wouldn’t hold your breath, they usually stick together on this type of thing.

Ready for even more worse news? Here is a title of an article and some main points that will affect you if you are on a Supercalendar paper stock:

Fire at Norske Skog’s Saugbrugs SC paper mill in Norway causes longer-term production cutbacks

“All production facilities at the mill were stopped due to the fire. Normal production has subsequently been started at one paper machine (PM4), which produces about 10 000 tonnes per month. Norsk Skog Saugbrugs will have a loss in production of about 30-35 000 tonnes per month (PM5 and PM6). Normal production from these machines is not likely until the end of June.”

FYI Norske puts approx 100,000 MT per year into North America of their 550,000 mt from this mill. Point being; availability of this grade (SC – supercalender) could be a problem.

So there you go, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in order to keep you ahead of this I thought it to be appropriate to let you all know. Expect a rise in paper prices on all coated stocks. Since we at JB Kenehan don’t just buy our stock from one supplier, we are able to provide a wide variety of paper grades and basis weights to economically help you work through this uncertain and ever changing paper market. Talk to your representative about how this will affect you and what solutions are available.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , | 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

5 Roles your print rep should play for YOU!

You may have noticed a lack of action from me over the past couple of weeks. My three year old son has been in and out of the hospital, but I am happy to say we have him home now, and we finally feel like we are out of the woods! This experience has caused me to take a good look at my priorities, not only at home, but also with my clients and prospects.

I sat down when I finally got back to the office the other day, and wrote out a list of how I can play more of a role for lovers of print. I asked myself what can I do to become better and help my clients become better, and here is what I came up with. These are 5 roles your print salesman should be performing for you!

1. Technology.Your print representative should be instructing you of new and creative ways to attract and build loyalty with your advertisers and readers alike. In today’s market, QR Codes, Augmented Reality, Digital Magazine. PURL’s, etc… aren’t right for everyone, but there is something right for anyone. Your sales rep should have a vast knowledge of your company, and be your consultant with new technology to help instruct and help increase your ability to not only survive, but grow as well! Also, there many creative avenues to offer other than technology such as gatefolds, tipping on an ad piece, RPN notes, and the like!

2. Quality Control. This is key in offering you a consistently quality piece. Your advertisers, members, and readers all deserve the highest quality product, after all, you are paying for it! Now I am not saying your print rep needs to stand over the press men to ensure there are no errors, most press men have great talent and an eye for when inks may need be adjusted. Also, with the advances in technology, presses have become very automated. However, they should be reviewing quality control pulls, communicating with you if there is any problems with your PDF files ie low DPI or too small of fonts etc.. Honesty and integrity are key, no one is mistake free 100% of the time, but how they communicate and take responsibility for the mistakes are essential to your business.

3. Cost Savers. Often times you can see a significant savings in some very small changes. With an increasing paper market, there may be an equivalent paper stock for far less cost. You could look at different cover coatings, going from UV to Aqueous typically saves cost. Often times there are sweet spots on how many pages in a form a printer is most economical in, changing your page count to fit this is much more economical.

4. Postal Rep. You thought I forgot about this didn’t you? OK, it could have fit into number three’s category, but I think we all know this deserves its own category! With ever changing postal regulations, rate changes, and the like, your print rep should be instructing you on changes not only now, but what also might be coming in the future. USPS regulations affect everyone, and when something comes along like the proposed rate increase (thank goodness it failed), the droop test, and much more your representative should be showing you how it will affect you, and what is most economical way to come into compliance should you need to. Just because the postal hikes didn’t pass doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be something else on the horizon, I know I have my ear to the ground!

5. Support. Yes, this is a different kind of support that I am speaking of than what I have outlined above. I pride myself on not being a hit and run type of representative. What do I mean? After the sale you no longer see your sales rep, they are like a ghost….hear their footsteps but never their voice! Building personal relationships allows for open and clear communication, also it just makes for a more fun way of doing business. It is nice to know that they are not only working for you, but also with you. Some say family fights more than friends, but to that I say blood is thicker than water!

Evaluate your relationship, these are only some of the things that your print rep should be doing for you. Take advantage of our knowledge, we want to assist you and see print survive! Without you, there is no us, and without us, you are not the best you.

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Mailing, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

10 tips to reduce cost and still meet your goals!

  1. If you are open to a change in your production schedule, speak to your printer about the possibility of a discount for moving to an open time of the month to fill a hole in their press time.
  2. Talk to your printer about lower basis weight paper stocks. You know what’s best for your publication, but there is always an alternative that will save you money, not only in printing costs, but also in mailing/freight costs due to the lesser weight.
  3. Where you print, sheet fed vs. web, and the equipment your vendor has will determine the number of pages available in each form. A web based printer is more efficient in printing 16 and 32 page forms for signatures. An additional 8 pages can be done, but you could get 16 pages for less than the cost of 8. How about that for helping you sell ad space! Now apply that logic to your current vendor – ask them where the greatest efficiency is for their equipment.
  4. To reduce costs, ask your vendor about an aqueous or varnish coating if you have a UV coated cover. They are very similar and typically will provide a savings. If you have a dull UV coated cover, ask your printer about a dull varnish, once again very similar and usually there is a savings.
  5.  If you print more than one publication on the same paper stock and the same trim size with the same vendor, ask about ganging them up. This means printing them one right after the other. Why should you do this? Printers will often give you a discount called a Repeat Make Ready for not having to do an additional setup. This savings is often significant and is worth checking into.
  6.  If your cover is “cover weight”, consider text weight. Its lighter (saves in mailing) and less expensive. If you don’t know what you use now, ask your vendor before you go out to bid to ensure you get an apples to apples comparison with no surprises.
  7. Are you printing a tab sized publication? For a savings in printing and mailing, consider moving the trim size to 10-3/4×12. This trim size allows you to be unique and oversized, yet can be printed in 24 page forms instead of the regular 16 page forms.
  8. Are your inside pages light gloss with a heavy 4 pg cover, for example, 36 pound gloss inside pages with a 4 pg 100 pound cover? If so, consider this: lose the cover, bump up your inside paper stocks to something like a 50 pound gloss and make your publication a self cover. You will save money, and have a quality product throughout. The same holds true for a transition from uncoated to coated.
  9. Maybe you want to stay on the uncoated paper stock because it fits your publication, but you still want an upgrade. Or maybe you use an uncoated paper stock, want an upgrade, but aren’t quite ready to go to a gloss. A heatset printer like us can offer the upgrade in quality that a coldset printer simply can not. What is heatset? When you finish reading the morning newspaper, look at your hands; chances are they are black from the ink that rubbed off. This is coldest: the ink easily smears and rubs off from one page to another and picture quality isn’t as crisp. In heatset printing, the web is run through a heater to set the ink, yielding crisper images and ink that will never smear. It offers an upgrade that you, your advertisers, and readers will be very happy with. This upgrade is often very economical and is another step toward obtaining your goals.
  10. Work with a printer that will be your greatest asset. In times like these with an ever changing paper market and postal regulations, your print representative should be your consultant, advisor, and greatest source of information on maximizing your marketing efforts, improving your publication, reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and forecasting for the future.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment