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The schizophrenic printing industry

As the number of printing services declines; the number of printing services increases. You read that correctly.


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About Frank Romano

Frank Romano has spent over 60 years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East to Asia and Australia. Romano lectures extensively, having addressed virtually every club, association, group, and professional organization at one time or another. He is one of the industry's foremost keynote speakers. He continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects.


By John Zarwan on Feb 27, 2012

Frank's historical knowledge gives us all perspective.


By Andrew Gordon on Feb 27, 2012

Good post Frank. There are more technology options today for print entrepreneurs than perhaps at any time in the history of the industry. I know the industry is struggling with managing the structural change that is occurring, but I also think this is a very exciting time and one that will give birth to new innovative business models.


By Diane Dragoff on Feb 27, 2012


Another great "connect-the-dots" of how we've gotten where we are.

Some of us have brought these multifunction machines back into businesses where we work, created a retail-like model, and offer all sorts of services from our in-house "non-print" shop. Its been a ten-year round trip from sending everything out for quick- or commercial-print to running as much as we can in-house.

Interestingly, its a background in print which is most helpful to me when describing to designers and operators how to layout the jobs and adjust the machines for maximum quality, and why something that the endusers want won't fit our process and must go outside. We've done the background work to create standardized templates for each desired piece, tested a variety of paper finishes and weights for best running and look, and have adjusted color curves for the machines. Now, when we need a 12-page stitched book, we can create it in-house in less time than any printer can output and deliver, and its to our exact spec.

These days, it seems that as long as color is pleasing in general, and the logo is the right color, that MFDs can turn out finished products very quickly and at relatively low cost.



By James Olsen on Feb 27, 2012

Frank, maybe the new PIA/NAPL organization will be clairvoyant and start up a special industry group: CMFPW - the Compact Multi Function Printers of the Word!


By Andrew Gordon on Feb 27, 2012

That was NAQP which was acquired by NAPL :)


By James Olsen on Feb 27, 2012

Whoops. Meant to say World, but looks like Word is appropriate too.


By Jules Vansant on Feb 28, 2012

I believe Seth Godin's recent blog post speaks volumes...
Perfect and impossible.

The definition of a revolution: it destroys the perfect and enables the impossible.

The music business was perfect. Radio, record chains, Rolling Stone magazine, the senior prom, limited access to recording studios, the replaceable nature of the LP, the baby boomers... it all added up to a business that seemed perfect, one that could run for ever and ever.

The digital revolution destroyed this perfect business while enabling the seemingly impossible: easy access to the market by new musicians, a cosmic jukebox of just about every song ever recorded, music as a social connector...

If you are love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen.


By Andrew Gordon on Feb 28, 2012

Love the comment Jules! Refreshing.


By Erik Nikkanen on Feb 28, 2012

Jules, making the dream of the impossible come true requires a deeper knowledge of how things work. So sometimes it can be done but not always.

Developing the knowledge to know with some probability if something is possible or not is a process in itself and is required to develop new concepts with more confidence.

When people think something is impossible, they never start that process to gain the critical knowledge. It is self limiting.

We need more people who want to do impossible things.


By Jules Vansant on Feb 29, 2012

I couldn't agree more Erik.



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