Quit Selling Printing
There’s much talk and concern, leading to handwringing, of late about consolidation in the printing industry, as a few big companies continue a pattern of buying up independent shops.
Many see this as a trend that foretells the demise of the printing industry. They envision a future in which all the world’s printing is done by a handful of large corporations that are traded on Wall Street or backed by investment bankers.
Some believe every printing company that isn’t acquired or consolidated or merged into one of these giants is destined for extinction. And if you look only at the traditional printing industry, there’s a compelling argument to be made that print is on it’s way out.
So even if you’re great at selling, it can start to look like maybe now’s the time to quit selling print.
But, from a slightly different perspective, there’s more happening here than just the consolidation and decline of an industry. From just the right angle, printing also appears to be experiencing a renaissance; new possibilities and opportunities abound.
Most people inside what used to be called the printing industry can’t see that side of things, however, simply because MOST OF THE GROWTH IN PRINTING ISN’T HAPPENING IN PRINT SHOPS! It’s happening in garages and basements, in labs, and in companies large and small that would never imagine calling themselves printers.
This growth is almost exclusively digital, and it’s being driven by developments such as printed electronic and 3D printing, and near-field communication (NFC), augmented reality (AR) and QR codes, along with a half-a-hundred other acronyms and abbreviations that many printers wouldn’t recognize as having much relevance to their businesses.
So while printing is a vital part of dozens of industries and millions of businesses, it appears less and less like an industry and more like a collection of technologies that share the ability to transform digital information into tangible, physical stuff.