The Shocking Tale of BookLocker v. Amazon

Bangor, Maine based BookLocker has won a suit against which claimed Amazon violated anti-trust law. The complaint was that Amazon used intimidation and other mafia-like tactics to shut down a publisher’s ability to use their own printer by attempting to force these publishers to use Amazon’s own POD printing business, BookSurge (now called CreateSpace).


You will respect Amazon's authoritah!!!

Let’s say you are an independent publisher, a niche publisher or a small digital printing company. Continue Reading →

What Do You Mean by “On Demand”?

Not everyone agrees on the definition of “on-demand”. They’re all right, AND they’re all wrong, too.

How many ways can you make change for a dollar?

The phrase “on demand” is pretty self explanatory. Software makers use it, video services use it. Even “print on demand” has been pretty much lumped into the book publishing domain.

Digital printers and marketing service providers have taken “print on demand” a step further to include things like web to print, short run reprints of marketing collateral (maybe digital, maybe not), pick and pack fulfillment, and there are others lurking in the shadows. All of these processes are different in a lot of ways. (BTW, there are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. And probably more ways to define “on demand”). Continue Reading →

Marketing Money is Going to the Wrong Places

According to a study by Bredin Business Information (BBI) (from an article in Marketing Charts), marketers are spending too much on channels that their audience doesn’t care about, and not enough on channels they like.
The article says that marketers are putting their most of their eggs in the online basket, but the way SMBs want their communication is in a more passive form. From the article:

BBI, which surveyed both marketers and small businesses about their online and offline media preferences, top concerns and brand ratings, found that marketers are most interested in using online tactics such as microsites/resource centers, webinars and webcasts, and social networking. Offline, tactics such as PR and telemarketing are most appealing to marketers, while interest in direct mail, print advertising and trade shows all declined.

These efforts are at odds with what SMBs say they prefer, according to BBI. As a source of information about products and services, SMBs rely most on newspaper and magazine articles (43.6%) and direct mail, including letters, postcards and catalogs (43.5%)

It is perfectly reasonable that marketing agencies and enterprise marketers are moving toward the online channels. The benefits (to the marketer) are critical: more touches for less cost, theoretically better targeting, online methods are significantly easier and faster to deploy, and marketers can track response accurately and quickly.

But, if your audience prefers to get their communication in a magazine, newspaper, or direct mail, isn’t it a big waste of time and money if you choose to ignore that preference?

I think that there is are important differences between the online and offline channels that marketers should try to understand. First, with print marketing, the recipient is in control, they have the choice about where, when and how they want to read. They can carry it around, put it in the briefcase until the time is appropriate for them. A much when the reader chooses, and controls his environment for doing that, he’s going to be a lot more receptive to the information. At least that’s what I’ve found in my own world. On the other hand, online marketing is typically pushed at the reader, and even if the recipient is in a state where he’s receptive to the message, as soon as he answers his next email or visits the next website, he’s gone. And, possibly gone forever. It’s easy to attract a buyer, and just as easy to lose a buyer.

The boys (in order from left to right): Eric C...
Image via Wikipedia

Like the say on South Park: I think we learned something today. Buy some printing if you want your ads to actually work.

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Digital Printing and Prepress job trends

Image by MonkeyBoy69 via Flickr

It seems from the chart below that jobs with the phrase “Digital Printing” in the job description (being precise here) were definitely trending up, even ignoring the anomalous spike in Summer ’07. Of course, the trend has turned down now.

The situation for prepress jobs is far more dismal, as this chart shows:

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Before you make a claim, get the data.

Bronze statue of Karl Malone outside Delta Cen...

This  kind of post is always interesting to me. Someday, I’ll figure out why, but for now suffice it to say that when you claim to be an expert about something, at least follow your own rules. The article (a self-referential metablog which attempts to give you some rules for making a good blog) instructs the blog writer/manager to:

  • Use standard blog interface design principles: Increase usability among blog readers by sticking with what they know and use:
    • Incorporate the topical tags and categories for quick sorting.
    • Include relevant links to other related sites or blogs in the sidebar.
    • Customize your CSS to choose a highly readable font and size.
    • Include your authors’ names.
  • But they don’t include their author’s name. 

    I wish stuff like this didn’t bother me so much, I really do. Maybe I’m too much of a stickler, I don’t know. It’s all about credibility. To have credibility as an expert, you have to be able to prove your expertise. This blog only makes claims about what to do but does not show any evidence to support those claims. 

    Like last night, I was at a party where some friends were saying Karl Malone and John Stockton weren’t good basketball players because they never won the NBA championship. (No mention was made of Jeff Hornacek or Jerry Sloan or, god forbid, Greg Ostertag). This logic breaks down pretty quickly, and I don’t expect a bunch of guys talking about sports to use pure logic to understand reality after three or four beers, but it hits me the same way. Statistically, Stockton and Malone were two of the best players ever to play the game, Stockton to this day has more assists and steals than any player since. They were masters. The 1997-98 Jazz had a 62-20 record. If that sucks, I wonder what the definition of great would be?

    This article was conceived, written, designed and published by Jeff Lazerus. Contact me in any number of ways:

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    The Future of Prepress I : Where is the customer? | Prepress Pilgrim

    Wheat Harvest 9886
    Harvesting wheat, not customers

    Great post by DJ Dunkerly at Prepress Pilgrim. I’m looking forward to the next part.

    Two things come to mind for me here. First, its not a gigantic leap, skillwise, for a good prepress operator to take other tasks like IT. Successful prepress operators are very data oriented, as opposed to object oriented or idea oriented. This skillset is the same for those in IT. I’m not saying that we are data oriented to the exclusion of the other two, but good prepress people are strong in that skill area.

    Second, we are now using the internet and networking in general to accomplish day to day tasks anyway; things like file transfer, proofing, and basic communication think email. In web to print and digital printing (my own gig) almost the entire process exists on remote servers accessed over the net. Harvesting customers using AdWords seems like just another extension of the already heavily “internet focused” effort that prepress work finds its home.

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    I wish I’d thought of it

    Image via Wikipedia

    Check out this genius idea: When I first saw it, I didn’t know what to say. I’d love to see the results, and I’d love to see a scientific study of this.

    From the printer’s perspective: Digital printing is now approaching offset quality in a lot of ways. Book printing is especially suited to digital, and digital truly democratizes that process, as this demonstration proves. Without LuLu, or Lightning Source, or any of the other quality shops (Vistaprint and its ilk are not designed to do high end design work), you’d still be paying megabucks just to get  job set up, and you are left with the question of where to store the 5,000 copies you didn’t sell.

    {Thanks again to Zemanta for bringing this up in the related articles tool. Brilliant as usual!}

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