Catalog and Publication Outlook : Moving Forward Cautiously

Top 5 Publication Printers for 2010.

Top 5 Catalog Printers for 2010.

The companies that comprise Houston-based Consolidated Graphics (CGX) are also offering clients new services to deliver product differentiation, such as UV spot coating on covers to help enhance the look and feel, as well as digital printing capabilities that provide publishers with print-on-demand options—and personalization when appropriate.

“Many of our clients have also pursued other opportunities to increase revenue, such as selling online subscriptions for electronic versions of their titles and sending out personalized e-mails,” notes Steve Brown, president of CDS Publications, a CGX company in Medford, OR.

“Other customers are driving more frequent news or feature articles to complement their monthly editions, as well as selling reprints in both electronic and hard-copy form.”

On the postal front, publication and catalog printers were relieved when the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) denied the U.S. Postal Service an exigent rate increase on Sept. 30. According to the Affordable Mail Alliance, the increase would have meant a massive rate hike above the rate of inflation. The USPS has since filed an appeal, at press time, challenging that decision in court.

USPS deflection penalties were also an issue this year, and many printers and publishers had to find solutions to help magazines retain their automation discounts. Marcoux says that while RR Donnelley worked with many of its magazine customers to minimize the impact, the penalties did add unexpected costs for some tabloid publications.

“The continued migration to Intelligent Mail will offer a solution for publishers to convert from traditional Address Correction Service (ACS) to the new Free ACS systems, providing reductions in postal-related expenses, especially for larger publishers,” says Marcoux. “To further cut down on postal expenses, there continue to be efforts to increase the utilization of co-mail pools, both for short-run publishers’ titles, and for longer-run publishers’ supplemental mailings. Trim sizes have also been reduced, especially for many of the 9˝ titles that are now going back to a more traditional, standard size.”

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