How Much of Something is Enough?
The shift to e-presentment is ongoing and inevitable. This is largely a good thing and it may even accelerate payment cycles and cash flow for billers, while dropping postage costs. Transactional shops need to invest in the software from companies like GMC or Uluro that can both reduce paper mail costs and make e-presentment and e-payment value-adds for their businesses. It’s far better to do this now than to play catch-up—with the companies who have lured away a couple of your customers.
Printing to meet demand
I got a call the other day from a company that works with magazine publishers. I can now get four magazine subscriptions for roughly the price of one because the publishers want to keep their BPAA “paid” circulation figures (and supposedly ad revenues) up. This probably means fewer magazines get thrown away and the publishers can keep the press runs high enough to maintain a reasonable production cost. Seems like publishers are hedging their circulation bets in a fickle industry made more so by the intrusion of tablets and other e-readers.
Meanwhile, HP recently put a personalized slipsheet into poly-bagged copies of Popular Mechanics that also contained a bound-in supplement produced via high-speed inkjet—printed on a big HP T-series press. This worked OK as an insert and points to a type of semi-customized publishing for vertical publications. It’s not really printing less, but it makes print more relevant, and by using tools like QR codes, such inserts tie easily to electronic media. There is money on the table in printing for targeted audiences.
Printing to match demand also works for books. Fans of e-books love to claim e-readers mean the death of real books, but talk to anyone in the business of producing short-run books and they want to see more Nooks and Kindles in people’s hands. While the big presses that print the titles of name-brand authors will still be busy, publishers are scrambling to get many other titles into print as economically as possible—and are looking to inkjet as the best option.