Commercial printers convert paper for customers for many types of jobs: books, pamphlets, newspapers, business forms, catalogs, lists, leaflets, magazines, posters, bibles, hymnals, greeting cards, programs, calendars, albums. There are thousands of printers throughout the world, from Helsinki to Auckland, from Vladivostok to Capetown, from Beirut to Hong Kong. No two print jobs are identical, no two print shops are the same, and the needs of no two print customers are exact counterparts. The basic economic problem of printers is pricing their conversion service for hundreds of different jobs using technology that is shifting—even as we write. Price is what customers will

Ordinarily I receive an e-mail response or two to my scribblings here, sometimes none at all. But my column in January must have touched a nerve. It was headlined by the editor, "Goodbye Job Cost Accountancy." Half a dozen readers posted e-mails, one from as far away as South Africa. Printing Impressions is demonstrably an international journal. I've had postings from Birmingham, UK, and Beirut, Lebanon, just in the past weeks. The monthly database I keep for web printers has included firms in Austria, Canada, Australia and Sweden. Yes, it is a small world growing smaller by the hour with the reach

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