Market Watch

News, articles and research on markets served by digital and commercial printers, including marketing communications, direct mail, book publishers, magazine publishers, advertising agencies, designers and more.

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When Nanotechnology Is Incorporated into Paper Electronics

Mainstream use of paper electronics with incorporated nanotechnology is still a ways off into the future. However in the last decade progress in the field has been greatly stimulated by advancements in thin film deposition and organic materials.

However the promise of electronics integrated into or printed out on paper has attracted significant international attention. Therefore, though still a ways off, one should not be surprised if in the future even ordinary sheets of paper are given a technological upgrade.

RFID Market Grows 17% in One Year to $9.2B in 2014

The latest report by IDTechEx "RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2014-2024," reveals the RFID market—including tags, readers, software and services, for passive and active RFID—will grow from $7.88 billion in 2013 to $9.2 billion in 2014.

The End of Trade Shows?

I don't think the large shows like drupa, Ipex, and GRAPH EXPO will be shutting down any time soon. But we will increasingly see major targeted events run by manufacturers that will compete with (and draw attendees away from) the traditional shows.

How Plastic Money Could Spawn Paper-thin Electronics

This spring, astronaut Chris Hadfield unveiled the currency of Canada’s future by spinning a banknote in zero gravity. It was a (Canadian) $5 bill, the latest to be made not of paper or cotton fiber but of polymer.

The purpose is ostensibly to deter counterfeiters, with a side-effect of increased durability (2.5 times as durable, according to the Bank of Canada). But an even more distant side-effect is now being explored in Australia, by the research institution that spawned plastic money in the first place: printable solar power.

A Troubling Sign for Tablet Magazines?

Despite all the hype about iPads and Kindles, U.S. magazine publishers are making far more money on the Web and generally wondering when their tablet investments will pay off.

In fact, though no one seems to talk about it, the real game-changing technology for subscription magazines has been browser-based editions—that is, digital replicas that can be read on any computer. Many a B2B publication has shifted 50 percent or more of its subscription base to these simple page-flip editions, but few print-and-digital publications get even 10 percent of their circulation from tablet editions.

MIT Unveils 4-D Printing

Skylar Tibbits, a trained architect, designer, computer scientist, as well as a TED2012 Senior Fellow, recently presented a new concept at TED2013: 4-D printing—where materials can be reprogrammed to self-assemble into new structures. Apparently, this is just the tip of the iceberg in manufacturing with minimum energy consumption.

“If we combine the processes that natural systems offer intrinsically (genetic instructions, energy production, error correction) with those artificial or synthetic (programmability for design and scaffold, structure, mechanisms) we can potentially have extremely large-scale quasi-biological and quasi-synthetic architectural organisms,” noted Tibbits.

Kodak’s 'No Show' at Trade Shows

Shows are expensive, requiring big checks up front. Kodak says it sees a better return from bringing more prospects to its demo center in Rochester, NY and stroking customers at GUA, the company’s user association. The question is whether this is enough.

Why Printed Books Will Never Die

eBooks are slowly subsuming the printed format as the preferred vehicle on which people read books. But perhaps there is reason to hope that eBooks and print books could have a bright future together, because for all the great things eBooks accomplish—convenience, selection, portability, multimedia—there are still some fundamental qualities they will simply never possess:

  • Books have physical beauty.
  • Books have provenance.
  • Printed books are collectible.
  • Books are nostalgic.

Web entrepreneur, designer and novelist Jack Cheng, who recently funded the printing of his book through Kickstarter, told me that printed books just offer a more robust experience to the reader.

State Offers no Money for Textbooks

Nonexistent state funding for new textbook purchases is driving the search for alternative sources of information, mainly via the Internet, electronic databases and licensing of eBooks. Schools also are making do with the books they have, stretching out replacement cycles and repairing worn volumes when practical.

State funding has dwindled from $21 million in 2008 to nothing in the current biennium, said Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez. The education department and the state board of education is lobbying for more money the next time around but 2013 isn’t a budget year, she said.

Increasingly, districts are buying netbooks and iPads

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Guy Kawasaki Goes APE Over Self-Publishing

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Kawasaki who has written 12 books, 10 of which were traditionally published. His newest book, “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book,” helps people understand how and why to self-publish. Guy shares his thoughts on publishing and why he decided to forgo the traditional model and go indie.

Ten Bold Predictions for eBooks and Digital Publishing in 2013

Another exciting year for the publishing industry is in the books, so to speak. The eBook and digital publishing landscape changed drastically yet again. Seeing as though 2012 is just about over, we’ve gathered publishing experts to predict what extraordinary events are to come in book publishing in 2013.

It’s About Time for Your Print Advertising to be More Social

There are some media channels, such as print, that seem so antiquated that marketers don’t think about how social media and technology can be influenced by the medium. Well, lets aim to make this a mindset of the past and start encouraging our coworkers, clients, leadership and partners to think “social,” even when producing print ads and printed collateral.

Superstorm Sandy’s Seven Lessons About Print Media

Many readers in the mid-Atlantic region report a new appreciation for print media in the wake of Sandy’s mayhem. Among the observations they passed along are: Print works just fine when the power is out. Print’s battery doesn’t die. If you own a printed product, you don’t need a wifi connection to access it.

5 Ways to Harness the Power of QR

I am frequently asked by customers, “How can I use QR Codes in my marketing campaigns?” The real question is, “How can you more effectively use QR Codes in your marketing campaigns?” It is not enough to simply slap a 2D barcode onto something; you need to thoughtfully incorporate QR Codes into each touch point. Use one to link to online content, use it as a vehicle to interact with customers, or create experience around your brand.

You've Got Mail: Campaigns Still Rely on Snail Mail

In the coming weeks, candidates will bombard your mailboxes with ads. It may seem old-fashioned, but the consultants who devise direct-mail campaigns have become sophisticated about knowing whom to reach and what to say. “It’s almost because of the changing media landscape that direct mail remains relevant,” says Anil Mammen, who runs a small direct-mail shop in Washington, DC.