Print Buying on the Web
I quote extensively from this publication, not because I think it's the new print purchasing Bible, but, because I think it fairly represents the beliefs of most print buyers.
While we pundits often state that print has become a manufacturing commodity, the buyers of print believe that it is anything but. They see each printing company as distinct—a compendium of equipment, processes, personnel and practices. For the average print buyer, this is not a commodity to be purchased over the Internet.
Some vendors portray their Web-enabled software and services as workflow systems, rather than print buying systems. They seek to use the Web to simplify job submission and job tracking between print buyers and their chosen printers. They swear that they're not seeking to disrupt existing buying relationships, but only to make those arrangements more efficient through the use of Web technologies.
I'm a little more comfortable with that approach and will look at it more closely in a future column. My initial observation is that the workflow automation they offer is largely superficial. I'll return to my statement from last fall. I do believe that the Web will eventually become a vehicle by which most printing is purchased. That, to me, is inevitable.
But to the vendors who think that they'll find short-term riches on the path, my advice is this: Choose venture capital partners with very deep pockets who can sustain you while you wait.
About the Author
Thad McIlroy is a San Francisco-based electronic publishing consultant and author, and serves as program director of Seybold Seminars. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.