Q&A With Paul Bozuwa, President & COO of Dartmouth Printing Company
The December Issue Publishing Executive featured the re-launch of the Top 20 Magazine Printers, a ranking that lists the largest printers in the U.S. and Canada by revenue. To accompany that ranking, we interviewed top printing executives to find out how the printing industry has changed and the issues they think publishers should be most mindful of in the future. Printing experts shared insights on custom publishing, automated workflows, and the importance of high-quality print content. The Q&As we published in the December issue were just snapshots, but following you'll find the full-length interview with Paul Bozuwa, president and COO of Dartmouth Printing Company at The Sheridan Group.
What should publishers be thinking about when it comes to printing in 2015 and beyond?
In the near term, paper availability and pricing. Current paper industry volatility (plant closings and mergers) will continue to impact planning, particularly with regard to larger than normal issues and supplements. Beyond this, publishers should explore how to leverage their print products to drive the ecosystem of audience and advertiser engagement.
Are you seeing customers doing more things to make their publications special or customized, or are they mostly just trying to produce their products as inexpensively as possible?
Both. Since 2007, we've seen a transition to lower grade stocks and a move to more cost-effective 16-page or larger signatures, vs. 4- and 8-page signatures. Publishers are also holding their advertising placement deadlines open longer to gain additional revenue. Conversely, we have seen an increase in magazine versioning as well as new subscription options targeted to various demographics.
How do the services you offer to publishers differ from what you were doing five years ago?
Our technology services and solutions have grown significantly, as have our specialty print options. We have steadily introduced technologies that take print to online (dynamic editions, mobile apps, QR codes, augmented reality) while at the same time offering a suite of publisher workflow tools designed to help publishers manage their front-end process smarter -- all fully maintained with our personal tech set-up and ongoing support. On the print side, we continue to expand our capabilities to deliver more creative pieces, from a variety of cover coating applications to attention-grabbing add-ons such as belly bands, flip books, tip-ons, and the like.
Are you having to educate customers about printing and distribution more than you used to?
Yes, over the years the magazine publishing industry has seen a reduction in production staff and a larger emphasis on ad sales and subscriptions. We have always focused on educating our customers, and will continue to, with experienced customer service and digital prepress representatives. Recently, we've started to bring information to our publishers through targeted webinars and newsletters, too.
What do you think will happen to the U.S. Postal Service? How viable will it be as a means of distributing publications?
The financial woes of the post office are well known and documented. We are seeing the impact for ourselves and our publishers as rates continue to go up and service in some instances declines. In response we offer counsel on postal matters through a well-informed, in-house resource and by using mechanisms like co-mail to offset the postal increases.
What are some new ways that publishers should be looking to their printers as partners for help, advice, solutions?
We feel that publishers should look for the complete package in a content distribution provider, and then really tap into the resources available. We want to be that one-stop shop that serves not only as an experienced, quality-driven provider, but one that that continues to grow and shape our services to meet our publishers ever-changing needs. For us, that means listening to our customers, educating ourselves, and demonstrating that we have our customers' best interests at our core. It's a balance of products (print, digital, mobile), services (the aforementioned publisher tools, postal/mailing expertise, and relevant market information), and personal attention.