On the postal front, both publishers and catalogers saw some relief this year when the USPS launched its summer sale. Some more good news came in October, when Postmaster General John Potter declared that there would be no increase in postage rates for market-dominant products during calendar year 2010.
Tricks of the Trade
Publication printers have also embraced initiatives to lower customers' mailing costs, such as co-mailing and supplemental mailings; co-palletizing or co-stitching; reduced paper basis weights and grade reductions; trim-size reductions; publication frequency cutbacks; and database hygiene efforts.
"A migration to Intelligent Mail (IM) will bring postal savings to publishers. In preparation, we are working with our customers on required initiatives, such as becoming PostalOne-ready with unique Mailer IDs for their titles, as well as reorganizing their mailing statements and postage accounts to work electronically with the USPS," notes Marcoux.
"This migration to Intelligent Mail will also enable publishers to convert from traditional Address Correction Service (ACS) to the new Free ACS systems."
Worldcolor has also taken several steps to help clients bring down mailing costs, such as investing in its co-mailing capabilities with the introduction of new capacity, flexible polybag specifications and expanded thin-book co-mail capabilities.
Most publishers and catalogers saw breaks in the price of paper over the course of 2009. While paper prices fell during the first quarter, they evened out by the third quarter.
"The paper industry continues to curtail capacity in an attempt to keep pace with the decline in demand and to facilitate more favorable return on investments," notes Ed Sheehan, executive vice president at Worldcolor. To help customers understand paper pricing trends, Worldcolor provides price/cost analysis on request so that clients can analyze the variable costs of paper ownership irrespective of price increases or decreases.