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Dickeson--Print Communications Made Easy

April 1998
"Print Communications and the Electronic Media Challenge" by Alan Kotok and Ralph Lyman should be required reading for everyone involved in printing management, ownership, and marketing and sales. I don't know about you, but I get baffled by all of the new methods, devices, jargon and techniques that are now a part of daily experience in the printing business.

I just can't keep up with all the RIPs, TIFFs, PROSE and SNAPs. It is such a relief for me to read through this book and be able to refer to it each time one of these concepts comes up. That's why I want to recommend it to you.

If you don't already have a well-thumbed copy circulating in your office, call Graphic Communications Association at (703) 519-8157 and spend some bucks to wind up much smarter than you are.

The Future Is Now
Yes, I was generally aware that run lengths were getting shorter and shorter, and that printing was becoming a boutique business. Matter of fact, I'd read Toffler, Naisbitt and the other "futurists" some 15 years ago and shook my head in disbelief. They foretold what was going to happen. What they said was ahead for us is here and now—that future "is us."

Kotok and Lyman (call 'em K&L) are not futurists. They are now people.

Far more than just commending them for leading us through the wastelands of jargon, I applaud K&L for offering clear, concise explanations and illustrations of the new imaging processes, such as the dry toner engines, liquid ink systems, waterless printing and imaging on press. All are aspects of the short-run, personalized, almost "interactive" industry that printing is becoming.

The thread that ties the chapters together is the totality of the impact. From film (or the lack thereof) to the post office with "ZIP plus four and maybe two more," there is a consistency and pervasiveness to the changes now being experienced.

It's mind-boggling to consider the thousands of editions of a single weekly magazine. Think of all the specifications, plate changes, inserts, mail lists, magnetic tapes, CD-ROMs, makereadies on press and bindery, and the boxes and stacks of imprints, inserts, samples, and who knows what next.

How can we keep it all straight? That's why we must understand PROSE (standardized Production Order Specification EDI), a whole new world of standardized instruction between publisher and printer.

It's explained in understandable, logical fashion by K&L in their work. If you're not familiar with PROSE, just read through Chapter 7 of the book where everything you wanted to know about PROSE but were afraid to ask is explained.


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