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Industry Insight

BoSacks Speaks Out: Magazine Production's New World Order

There are two things I would like to point out today in reference to an article Folio titled Magazine Production'

By Bob Sacks
Published: January 21, 2010

There are two things I would like to point out today in reference to an article Folio titled Magazine Production's New World Order. The first is that I forecasted the demise of the traditional production department in a white paper in 2005. Being a senior manufacturing guy most of my adult life, I hope you can appreciate the pain I felt and still feel when I forecasted that concept. There are many times I wish I wasn't right and this is one of them. I have dozens of friends who are still battling to produce magazines and have the great honor of being in a traditional production department. The sad truth is that the old style of craftsmanship of that type of profession is a dying concept.

Nobody on the publisher's side of the equation needs to truly understand the complexities of manufacturing a magazine any more. It is an algorithm and a true commodity now. An agreed upon set of numbers and specific conditions. The quality has now been reduced to the range of a mere statistic. This is not a necessarily a bad thing and the quality of on press results are staggering, but it is also a change worth recognizing.

Everything that can be automated will be automated. You can name any function you would like in the old production department, and it can most likely be distilled down to a database of one sort or another. The responsibilities of the production department that haven't been dehumanized yet will be transferred to other departments that still require human intervention.

I truly grieve to tell you all this but I believe it to be true.

The other thing this article mentions is virtual proofing. That too will disappear. It is a fad and a crutch and we do not need proofs. A proof proves nothing. The conditions and sophistication's of the modern printer does not actually require a proof. Perhaps that sounds strange or even overly trusting of our printing partners. It is neither. They can and will do it.

Let it go and save the money and the time. If not today, than soon, we will not require any proofing whatsoever. Direct from your design department monitor to the printer. A complete set of numbers and data to that will be reproduced to everyone's satisfaction. As unusual as that may sound it will soon become a reality. At the very least think over these concepts and send me your thoughts on why I might be wrong and where you disagree. I am always open to honest dialog.



By Bobby on Jan 22, 2010

The first good article I have seen lately relative to the magazine industry and the need for it to change. Fact make this article so timely and the sooner management can comprehend the future aspects of production and delivery, the longer the traditional magazine will survive. Wider circulation at lower cost can help the industry to survive.


By Keith Hammerbeck on Jan 27, 2010

I have to agree with almost everything you said in this article. However, there is still a ways to go before I feel that we can eliminate proofs. (We take advantage of virtual proofing with all of our printers that have this capability) Some of the major printers still cannot provide valuable data from their CLC systems to monitor qaulity, so until thaty can provide that data, quality won't be what it could be. For example, our printer can give us an average ink density, but they can't tell us what % of the run was within the upper and lower limits. So in theory, half of the job could be 30 points low, and the other half 30 points high, and they would have a "perfect" score. There are also still challenges in monitoring and correcting dot gain.


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