Graph Expo 2010: Binding & Finishing – Pushing Postpress Progress

Graph Expo 2010 show floor.

Want an honest, open, unbiased and unfettered report on the quantity and quality of visitors who haunted the binding and finishing booths during Graph Expo earlier this month? Fact of the matter is, no such beast exists.

Not that we’re trying to spin a bad situation with a happy face, nor are we panning the show out of some allegiance towards transparency. The fact of the matter is, we really don’t know the truth, and anyone who says they do is full of themselves. To quote Dustin Hoffman’s character Bernie LaPlante from the movie Hero: “People are always talking to ya about truth. Everybody always knows what the truth is, like it was toilet paper or something, and they got a supply in the closet.”

In deference to Mr. LaPlante, here are some observations that have two sides to them, and may or may not represent the truth. And the vendors quoted here at random paint a picture. What that picture says…you be the judge.

• The show seemed much more robust than Print 09, which either reflects badly on last year’s event or positively on Graph Expo 2010. It says here that the former is more likely, given that there was hardly any offset press iron on display this year.

• The aisles seemed more crowded this time around. Of course, a back portion of McCormick Place South was walled/curtained off because of the roughly 30 percent reduction in floor space sold.

• Booth visitors demonstrated that they were intent on making firm purchasing decisions, an indication that the pent-up buying demand dam is starting to crack as printers and trade finishers whip out their checkbooks. Similarly, no one was willing to make any commitments, because of their inability to obtain credit from industry lenders.

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