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Mark T. Micheslon

Mark My Words

By Mark T. Micheslon

About Mark

Mark Michelson has served as editor-in-chief of Printing Impressions since 1985. He received the Tom McMillan Award for editorial excellence in 2004 and was inducted into the NAPL's Soderstrom Society in 2005, among other honors.

 

Time to Talk of Printing and Print Trade Magazines

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The announcement that American Printer magazine was folding with the publication of its August issue—ending a 128-year run—frankly, did not come as a big surprise, despite the capable tutelage of Editor-in-Chief Katherine O’Brien. Coupled with the demise of another venerable publication, Graphic Arts Monthly, in April 2010, some blog posters are proclaiming that the business model of printing a monthly magazine geared toward the commercial printing and allied industries is a broken one.
 
But, I beg to differ, and not just because Printing Impressions is now the only remaining monthly printed publication serving this market segment. There is no black cloud hanging over our industry, casting a dark shadow on the ability to sustain a monthly trade publication.
 
American Printer’s demise was not the result of a dwindling commercial printing industry, but a lack of commitment by upper management to invest long-term in magazine titles that serve a mature industry in transition. As O’Brien wrote in her farewell blog post, “Penton, our parent company, stuck with us through some mighty lean months, but ultimately, there was no foreseeable model to achieve profitability.”
 
We believe there is still a business model and remain committed to the printing industry.  Unlike highly leveraged publishing conglomerates, Printing Impressions is owned by North American Publishing Co. (NAPCO), a privately-held trade publishing business launched by Irvin Borowsky in 1958 with the debut of Printing Impressions. Over the years, NAPCO has grown and diversified, but remains focused on key markets. In addition to a leading presence in the consumer electronics field, NAPCO publishes In-Plant Graphics, packagePRINTING, Print Professional, Promo Marketing, Target Marketing, as well as several other titles serving the printing, publishing and direct marketing industries.
 
As such, the printing industry is truly in our company’s DNA—and the desire to serve and engage our readers is a long-term commitment. Just like everyone else, we have felt the severe recession and upheaval happening in America, and the printing industry especially, but we’re committed to evolve our products and services to change with our industry for what inevitably will be better days ahead.
 
We have made the shift to the immediacy of electronic delivery and social networking interactivity. These include mobile-friendly daily and weekly e-newsletters; a new site featuring numerous industry bloggers (www.PrintingsBestBlogs.com); an iPad app; the option to receive a digital version of the issue; and our primary Website (www.PIworld.com).
 
If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to sign up for both our FREE daily and weekly e-mail newsletters. They are quite different, so it’s well worth it to receive both. Visit www.PIworld.com to sign up for the newsletters, as well as the monthly magazine.
 
NAPCO is also investing heavily in brick-and-mortar and virtual events to serve our constituencies. The Publishing Business Conference & Expo, held annually at the New York City Marriott Hotel, continues to grow both in attendance and number of educational sessions. And, just last week, close to 5,000 people took part in our InterACT! Virtual Conference & Expo, which brought marketers, brand managers and print service providers together to learn more about the integration of print, online, mobile and social media.

NAPCO is in a unique position to marry the reach of our various print publications with our strong online presence to present—and promote—various educational events that can bring printers, marketers, brand managers, and magazine, book and catalog publishers all together—whether virtually or face-to-face.
 
Celebrating my 30th anniversary with NAPCO next January, I’m committed to being around to witness—and report on—the next chapter for the commercial printing industry. It’s very sad to see a long-standing brand and the good people associated with American Printer gone, but don’t listen to all the doomsayers; the graphic arts industry is far from dead. It will evolve, albeit painfully for many, to find its role in the modern media mix.

At Printing Impressions, we are committed to creating printed AND online products to serve, and maintain relevancy for, our readers—today, tomorrow and for many years ahead.
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