But marketing is not solely to blame, according to Gimbel. There are other barriers. Some jobs are simply better suited for the traditional print-and-distribute method. Also, Gimbel adds, customers need to be educated. They must be brought up-to-speed on how to provide digital files for electronic transfer.
"Printers need to know how to sell it," Gimbel adds. "And they have to take a look at whether there's a benefit. How does a printer make the same margin with distribute-and-print that he makes by printing then distributing that job? And is the cost differential enough, in terms of the shipping, to justify additional markups? Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't."
Gimbel provides an example of the type of jobs his firm is handling: "We receive newsletter files in from (a major publisher) in New York City. We piece them together, check the data and print about 3,000 to 5,000 copies here at our site. Simultaneously, we send the files to digital printers in Houston and London, where they are printed and distributed. … We used to print them all, FedEx them to Houston and London, and then they were mailed from there. It's about 25 percent cheaper and 100 percent more efficient to do it this way."
Despite Gimbel's thoughts about low demand, he is encouraged about the future. "Once we went to full digital, it became much easier for us to support distribute-and-print, because we were able to send more and more compressed files. So really, the advent of digital has opened up the door," he notes.
-Gretchen A. Kirby
For more info on the IPN, call (800) 24-PRINT or visit www.xrc.com
and click on the IPN logo, which will allow you to access the Web sites of more than 25 IPN members.