McIlroy–Publisher’s Newsletter Pays Tribute to Printer

Let me devote the rest of this column to quoting from the January 1999 edition of the Publishers’ Newsletter and adding a few comments along the way.

On page 2 (of 11), David points out that “1998 saw continued change in our electronic prepress area, though not the fundamental change we had seen in previous years. Both our customers and ourselves appear to be much more comfortable with the use of computers for prepress and, while the inevitable glitches appeared, things did go relatively smoothly.”

Well, that certainly confirms my impression of what’s happening for most printers. Electronic prepress is really settling down. He goes on to say: “1998 was the year we finally threw out our last camera. Yes, the once ‘can’t do without’ OPTICOPY was finally made redundant and removed from our plant.” I think 1998 was a year when a lot of printers sent their last cameras packing.

But wait. “Interestingly,” he continues, “it was bought by another printer.” Well, I guess the industry is not yet 100 percent digital! At Friesens, David writes, “We do still receive some camera-ready material, but it is now scanned and turned into digital data.”

Honest, Informal Update
In the “Electronic Prepress Update” section, David points out that “in the press area, we can buy a new piece of equipment and expect it to perform well for 10 years. In electronic prepress, after 24 or 36 months, whatever we have is outdated.”

I think most printers can identify with that, although I’d offer an observation that printers are starting to stretch the life of their imagesetters and scanners. At Friesens, they’re gearing up for computer-to-plate, which is expected to take place later in the year.

Another section of the newsletter deals with “Acceptable File Types.” Apparently Friesens, like most printers, is getting a lot more Microsoft Windows files, although, as David explains, “Macintosh has been the leader in the graphic arts field, and many, including ourselves, still think they are.”

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