Hi, this is Frank Roman from WhatTheyThink.com.  Several things on the agenda today.  First of all, we have a Dov Isaacs cartoon that he discovered.  It’s in a classroom and the student is saying, “Ms Holden, I’m having a hard time drawing without the use of some kind of software.”  The kid is saying I can’t draw without some kind of software.  Hmmm. 

I got a mailing piece from Kohl’s, and I think I told everybody a while back that I was at Kohl’s one day, and they said we’ll deduct $5.00 from this purchase if you give us your email address.  And I gave them my email address and then all of a sudden I start getting emails.  I don’t know if you can see this very well, but I have saved them for the last few months.  And literally, every day or so another email comes in.  And you can see it goes on forever.  There are just tons and tons of Kohl’s emails.  And they all have the same sort of theme here; extra 20% off, extra 30% off, take an extra 20% or 30% off, we’re having a sale, powerful prices for three days, early bird specials, Valentine’s Day specials, clearances of 60% to 80% off.  So, I was surprised that in addition to this they do a lot of this.  So I have to give Kohl’s credit for good marketing in terms of getting my attention, but I have to tell you that announcing a sale every day or two is not really getting my attention any more.  If Kohl’s were to announce that they were going to sell everything at list price, I would probably be there in an instant. 

Several things that I’ve discovered.  As you know, I keep track of all different things that are happening by checking different websites.  This is one from The Boston Globe, Boston.com; in a Facebook age fewer colleges printing yearbooks.  Fewer colleges are printing yearbooks as sharing memories on Facebook show less interest in having hardcover mementos.  University of Virginia at Charlottesville is the latest school to stop publishing a yearbook.  It reflects trends in college life as students become more disconnected with their campuses and participate less in traditional activities.  Interesting.  No more printed yearbooks.  That would be a shock. 

In Los Angeles, there was in the Los Angeles Times, LA City Attorney files lawsuit against super graphic sign companies.  He files a lawsuit accusing an array of businesses and individuals of erecting illegal super graphic signs, vinyl or plastic images that can cover the entire side of a building.  They said there are 12 locations around the city.  I don’t know if they didn’t get permits, or of they violated some ordinance, whatever it may be, but big signs.  The way the world is going.  I have to admit, they are a bit disconcerting, if you are driving they can take your attention away, there’s no doubt about that. 

This one was interesting.  This was in the The New York Times, Science section.  Converting body movements into electricity.  It says here, just breathing, taking a deep breath and letting out the air can generate a watt of power.  I love this line.  If the potato actually gets off the couch and walks briskly across the room, each heel strike can produce even more power, about 70 watts more. 

So, I can see it now, we’re going to have these sensors on our body and perhaps it will be underwear that we put on that has the sensors built in, and you can plug in your iPod and your iPhone and any other electronic device to it and now as you walk, you can generate electricity to drive all of these devices.  Now, in addition to being, you know, sort of out of it, with those headphones, those little speaker things that hook onto your ear and it looks like you are just talking to yourself as you’re walking along.  And then in the other ear you have your iPod and you’re listening to your music, now people will be doing this.  I can envision it.  Oh, wait, you’re fading away, [shuffling sound]. Can you hear me now?  

I mean, so people will be just gesticulating to generate electricity to drive their devices.  And they’ll be talking to them and it will appear that they are talking to themselves.  This is going to be very interesting in a new societal approach to watching people in large cities as they walk around doing this. 

There was an article in The Economist on demand printing.  I remember being interviewed for it.  The reported did a very good job on it, by the way.  They covered the entire world of on demand.  They talk about Ingram and Lightening Source.  Lightening Source is the larges on-demand book printer, probably in the world right now.  They’re average run is 2 copies.  The secret sauce they bring is their software.  They have equipment from a variety of companies, but they can match up the right cover with their iBook.  I remember when I visited them in the late ‘90’s, when they first started; they had a problem in that regard.  They talk about the espresso book machines when they go into book stores.  They talk about book publishers using their back list for fodder for on-demand books.  They talk about the vanity publishing, you now, self-publishing is the new term.  So, the whole world of on-demand book printing is really growing.  Keeping track of all the personal books is part of the problem, by the way. 

So, some where between 10% and 15% of all books today are printed on-demand.  That’s amazing.  We’ve been talking about this since 1978, by the way.  So, it’s about time that it’s started to happen.  There’s a prediction that perhaps all books could be printed on-demand.  I don’t know if that would really ever happen, but it’s a possibility based on the technology that’s out there. 

The real growth, of course, is in self-publishing.  Not only in your novel, your own cookbook, but your family memories, whatever it may be.  That is the growing market at this stage of the game.  The publishers are just discovering that no book will every go out of print with on-demand printing. 

Lastly, Howie Fenton writes an article for Graphic Arts Monthly Online and he was talking about the NAPL State of the Industry Report, the SOI.  And he took out of it four points which he called critical success factors.  And I thought they were that they were just enumerated in one place this way. 

One, constantly identifying and pursuing new markets that appreciate more value and added solutions.  Yeah, yeah.  Find the market with the value is.  Where people put a value on what you’re doing.  That’s the hard job, but if you can do that that’s going to help you build your base.    

Two, continuously adding on new digital services to remain competitive, such as web to print, database services, whatever it may be. 

Three, now, this is the one that I had not seen in most lists.  Adopting a balanced scorecard approach to sales.  That means that you’re still going to sell stuff at commodity prices.  I’m sorry; printers are going to be that way forever.  They’re going to keep the presses rolling, they’ll try to undercut, under price, or lower their price for whatever their reason.  But at the same time, they should be looking for those markets where they can get their price, where there is a value add to what they’re doing.  And then they need to balance that in some way.  If it goes too far toward the commodity then the printer’s in trouble.  If it tends toward the value add, then the printer’s in good shape.  So, finding a balance is the key thing.  Up to now, I’ve heard people say it one way or the other.  You absolutely have to be all value add.  Well, I don’t think you can be all value add, there are cases where you may have to lower prices in order to keep things going. 

The last item on here was keeping companies focused on operational excellence.  That is always becoming more efficient.  That is the key to everything.  Cutting costs, cutting people, making the entire operation as super efficient as you possibly can. 

So, those are items that I found in the news in the lat week.  And it’s all my opinion.  Take care. 

I need one of those sound things – Offset and Beyond!  What’s beyond?