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Printing Guru Frank Romano Speaks to Boston Print Buyers

Press release from the issuing company

Boston, MA - October 18, 2005 -- Launching his presentation of "The Future of Print & Media Buying in the Digital Age" with a music video entitled "We Didn't Trash Your File," Frank Romano took members and guests of Boston Print Buyers on a wild ride that documented the past and peered into the future of the printing industry at the group's October 17th meeting. The event, held at the Millennium Bostonian Hotel, was sponsored by Abbott-Action Packaging Corporation, Albert Basse Associates, DesChamps Printing Company, Matheson Higgins/Congress Press, and RIS The Paper House. Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus at the School of Print Media at Rochester Institute of Technology, is an international expert on graphic communications, electronic printing and publishing. Active in the industry for more than 40 years, he is the founder of several trade publications, the author of 45 books, including the 1000-page Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications, and editor of the Pocket Pal. Romano tackled the questions of whether or not "print is dead" and if digital printing signals the end of offset in this electronic communication age. Although the number of U.S. printing firms declined from 62,000 in 1995 to 43,000 in 2004, he said that the answer is no - but it is changing. "It's no longer print vs. digital," he said. "It's a combination of print and digital. They will coexist for a long time." Although changes in printing technology have eliminated jobs (remember strippers?) and typesetting has virtually disappeared, the revenues of printing firms have increased by adding ancillary services to their product mix. With a projected growth rate of only 1% over the next 20 years, printing firms are realizing that value-added services such as mailing, fulfillment and design are critical to their bottom line, Romano said. What does this mean for print buyers? In Romano's survey of why buyers select one printer over another, buyers most often are purchasing time - they need to have their jobs delivered on schedule and will use the vendor who can do it. Today's print buyers are looking for "instant everything - quotes, contact, status reports, proofs, repeat jobs, preflighting, job submission, and hand holding," said Romano. However, an important intangible is "a printer who makes the buying experience pleasurable." As professionals, print buyers need to understand all aspects of the production process: mechanical as well as aesthetic. Because there is no formal accreditation program for buyers in academia, print buyers "need a group like Boston Print Buyers to publicize the print buying, provide education about new technologies, and garner respect for the print buying professional," according to Romano. "Printing is all about creation."