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How Mercury Print Productions Revitalized Their Business with Educational Book Printing

Published on January 13, 2012

Cary Sherburne visits Mercury Print Productions and interviews President John Place about their increase in educational book printing in the inkjet market.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I’m here with John Place, who’s President of Mercury Print Productions in Rochester, New York.  Good to be with you.  

John Place:  Very nice to meet you.  

Cary Sherburne:  So, tell me a little bit about Mercury to start with.  

John Place:  Okay, Mercury Print Productions is located in Rochester, New York.  We are located in three facilities.  Our main commercial print is in one facility, our warehouse and distribution is in another facility and our book production is in another facility.  

Cary Sherburne:  And so I wanted to focus in on the book production piece of the business today.  Maybe you could talk a little bit about what got you into books and kind of what your platform is and that kind of thing.  

John Place:  After 9/11, we lost a substantial amount of revenue coming from Mercury Print.  We had to get into another arena.  So what we decided to do is to get into the education and book arena.  At that point there, we started and it really worked out quite well where revenues are growing faster than the commercial side of the business, so we decided to really pursue this and start really going after the educational market.  

Cary Sherburne:  Great.  And so when you look at your production platform across the company, you’ve got offset, you’ve got digital and you have inkjet in the form of a Kodak Prosper Print.  

John Place:  That’s right. 

Cary Sherburne:  Maybe you could talk to us about how you see those three technologies working together or not working together, as the case may be, in books.  

John Place:  Yeah, in the book arena what’s happening, we’re doing a ton, a ton of work right now in this toner-based arena.  We feel that the inkjet is going to actually come into play and start eliminating a lot of the toner-based jobs that we’re doing right now.  We feel that as the quality gets up in the inkjet that we’ll even be able to do more and more different parts of the educational part of the business.  

Cary Sherburne:  So right now, you have one inkjet press… 

John Place:  We have one inkjet press.  

Cary Sherburne:  And you have your fleet of toner… 

John Place:  We have a fleet; we have about 25 toner-based machines… 

Cary Sherburne: To back it up in case, yeah.  

John Place:  To back it up, and to still be able to run jobs that are not able to be put onto the Inkjet at this point.  

Cary Sherburne:  For one reason or another.  

John Place:  For one reason or another.  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, and then, so, I understand your plan is to kind of migrate out some of the toners.  

John Place:  Yes.  As the time goes on, we feel that the inkjet is going to take quite a bit of the toner machines away, what we have right now.  It could take quite a few, actually, depending on how the quality goes with the – with the.  

Cary Sherburne:  Maybe add another inkjet.  

John Place:  We could add another inkjet, definitely.  I mean we see that, we see that in our plans.  It’s planned actually for next year actually to get another inkjet.  Yep.  

Cary Sherburne:  And that’s great.  And then the final question is, you know, obviously there’s a lot of disruption and change going on in the book publishing business with e-books and all the other things that are going on.  So, are you looking towards doing some kind of multi-channel work like that in the future?  

John Place:  Yeah, we see our self, you know, as starting to go down that road where the e-books come into play.  We feel that the e-books are actually helping us in driving more work towards us, getting them off the large web presses and bringing them down to more of an on-demand format where people could really print when they really want to print them and if they want to print that book seven times for the full year, they can print that seven times for the full year, cost effectively and not have the warehouse in it, trying to eliminate the warehousing that they have problems with right now. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great, so it’s working in your favor.  

John Place:  It’s working.  We think the e-books are actually working in our favor, that is correct.  

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  Well it’s a great story.  Congratulations.  

John Place:  Thank you very much.  

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