These days, however, what we were calling “Web-to-print” has morphed into something much more sophisticated and we really need a new name. Most notably, the digital assets that are being submitted through these systems don’t always go to print, so “Web-to-print” is much too limiting. Some assets are available for download electronically and might never be printed. Others may be used in email campaigns. Still others may be destined for the Web as banner ads, customized landing pages or more. In fact, for the customers, it is not even about print, really. It is more about managing business communications or marketing collateral, which is likely to include some print.
What Cary is talking about is templatized documents. Templatized documents can be used to provide personalization and customization to a range of documents in print and electronic mediums. Some have referred to this a Web-to-everything with the goal to streamline production by removing inefficiencies of the traditional procurement, design and and in the case of print, manufacturing the process.
Catalogs are often a more compelling way to showcase apparel. “People like getting things in the mail, flipping through and seeing all the options, she explains. “Sometimes, with our site, we have an overwhelming number of products, so to be able to sift through all of them quickly and easily in a 30- to 32-page catalog is easier for consumers.”
The marketer’s catalogs are heavily customized based on information collected online, and Warren notes that customization helps draw customers in to explore fully what’s being offered — both in the catalog and online.
“[When they] get a catalog and see their team on the cover, it makes them more likely to buy,” she says. “We find the more that we customize the catalog, the more they are going to purchase.”
The Printed Blog a start-up that aggregated content from blogs to create newspapers has announced that it will cease publication. The Printed Blog Joshua Karp founder in a blog post cited lack of funding.
The Printed Blog published a printed version of internet-based content twice a day. Content was selected based on the votes of readers and their geographic location. In its short existence, the service produced 16 issues, distributed 80,000 print copies, and 100,000 copies downloaded.
Printcasting, the Knight News Challenge project that aims to “allow individuals to easily create ad-supported, customized publications with a mix of local news and information” has announced a partnership with MediaNews Group. The partnership expands the reach of the publishing platform.
Springer Science+Business Media the publisher of science, technology and medicine books, manuals and journals has announced its eBook catalog is now available in print at participating libraries in North America that have have purchased Springer eBook Collection. According to the company, “All registered library patrons will be able to order a softcover copy of a Springer eBook for their personal use the Springer platform www.springerlink.com..” The books format is perfect bound with a color cover and monochrome interior.
“We tested and evaluated market acceptance. The test phase was a complete success, as the libraries and their patrons confirmed,” said Dr. Olaf Ernst, President of eProduct Management & Innovation at Springer. “The order processing, rapid delivery and attractive price of the books convinced library users that this is a good deal. The logical decision for Springer was to offer MyCopy as an extended service for our library customers and their users. It makes the steadily growing eBook range even more attractive to the science and research market.”
The print production for the MyCopy service will be handled by Lighting Source, a unit of Ingram Content Group. Ingram Content Group comprised of Ingram Book Group, Lightning Source and Ingram Digital was recently formed.
The 2009 edition of InfoTrends’ popular TransPromo Summit is right around the corner: August 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Boston. The Summit is the place to be to beyond the hype and buzz of TransPromo and see real world applications and discuss TransPromo applications with print service providers, marketers, and vendors.
InfoTrends Road Map 2009: TransPromo Service concluded: “The year 2009 will be an exciting one for TransPromo and will likely include everything from implementation discussions to sales force education to potential mergers and acquisitions. The continued delivery of new inkjet production color devices will certainly have an impact on the TransPromo opportunity, as well as its appeal to marketers. Reductions in overall customer print spend will encourage service providers to get creative with higher-value applications. Effective applications can deliver the return on investment of which customers are becoming ever more conscious.”
According to InfoTrends the market for TransPromo communications printed in full color will reach 12.8 billion impressions by 2012. Their market research found 95% of statements are open and read with an average of 2 to 3 minutes reviewing their statements, with 20% spending more than 5 minutes.
In 2008 Bowker also reported “On Demand” Publishing More than doubled: “Bowker projects that 285,394 On Demand books were produced last year, a staggering 132% increase over last year’s final total of 123,276 titles. This is the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth in the On Demand segment, which in 2008 was 462% above levels seen as recently as 2006.”
If would be foolish to dismiss the doubt leading up to the ON DEMAND show. Chalk this up to declining advertising spend, economic uncertainty, or a shrinking manufacturing sector. Many industry suppliers commented that the show attendance was better then expected and that a majority of the attendees were closer to making purchase decisions (the show management has not released attendance numbers yet).
As Jim points out in his blog post the finishing vendors brought a lot of hardware, while the print engine vendors that did attend slimmed back on hardware and concentrated their software offerings.
So the question is: was On Demand 2009 the tipping point in terms of workflow playing a more important role in on demand print production. Or was there simply less printing hardware on the show floor because our current economic environment? I think it a matter of both.
We are seeing incremental upgrades among the current digital printing systems on the market. Complex software systems are now needed to control the flow of information from the customer to the printed sheet. And while we have seen workflow the focus of previous shows, a level of maturity in these information systems has finally arrived that allows the printer to do amazing things with a data feed and a printing system.
That’s where I see On Demand. A place were best practices in new information-rich print applications can be discussed and demonstrated.