Frye Publication Consulting

Trends to Track in the Paper Market
June 1, 2006

The publishing industry has changed dramatically in every area, from the way pages are created to virtual proofing to computer-controlled presses to highly sophisticated finishing equipment. Even paper, the low-tech part of our industry, has changed. How has paper been affected in this highly technical world we work in, and how have those changes affected the way we use paper to produce magazines and catalogs? In my opinion, there have been four distinct areas of notable change. Paper Characteristics Paper specifications have been slowly changing toward more “hybrid” options. The standards of grading papers, e.g., #2, #3, #4, etc., have blurred—papers are

Helmets and Safety Goggles Advised
February 1, 2006

There is a saying that goes something like this: "If you can't look back on the year and either laugh or cry, it was a year wasted." It seems in the book industry there is enough to laugh and cry about from 2005 to cover us for years to come. A quick recap of some highlights: Google's "Print Library" taking over water-cooler conversations (and inspiring several law suits); pay-per-page online models being announced by Random House, Amazon, and others; the internationally anticipated sixth edition of "Harry Potter" being released—and illegally translated and released in China; fictitious book characters "blogging"; HarperCollins going wireless with

Want Less Work, Better Quality and Lower Costs?
December 1, 2005

Buying printing these days is simple as well as complicated, depending on the area you're considering. Prepress has become simpler as the PDF/X-1a format is now the preferred standard for page files. Prepress price lists at printers are now just a few line items—long gone are the hundreds of items dealing with film. But, as we all know, just because it has become easier to buy prepress and submit PDFs doesn't mean that workflow problems don't exist. InDesign has made significant inroads to become the front-end system of choice for two basic reasons: ease of creating PDFs and the inclusion of international symbols.

Quality vs. Vanity
October 1, 2005

I have been involved with many high-quality projects over my career and have witnessed the transformation of our industry from that of skilled craftsmen in a film environment to that of computers and digital preciseness. I can talk about the new advances in quality improvement, and I will. But as I write this article, I feel a little hypocritical. As a consultant, it is my job to help my clients achieve the best possible quality from their vendors. Yet, I have witnessed the most ludicrous actions being taken based on the quest for the "best" and "highest" quality possible. For example, a large

The Changing of Standards
August 1, 2005

The change has been subtle. It’s an unpopular trend with most book publishers, even those who’ve elected to do it. So far consumers/readers haven’t really noticed, and that’s the idea. But the educated guess is that someday they will. The trend I’m referring to is the encroachment of uncoated groundwood stocks into the pure realm of hardcover, case-bound books. Unlike magazines, catalogs and newspapers, books are meant to have a long shelf life. Historically, they have been printed on uncoated freesheets, but lately the industry appears to be graduating to newer, brighter groundwood stocks that look and feel very similar to freesheets, but offer

Can Co-Distribution Save You Money?
August 1, 2005

One of the biggest changes in the publication printing industry today has been in mailing. Mailing used to consist of applying customer-furnished labels to the publications, and printers would drop them into the closest Bulk Mailing Center (BMC). As the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) created more complex sortation rules and subsequent pricing structures, printers have begun offering services to take advantage of potential discounts for their customers. You've most likely heard printers offering savings through co-palletizing or co-mailing, or even co-mingling. These "co-distribution" strategies attempt to combine different publications/mail together to reduce postage costs and increase discounts. Co-Palletization In co-palletizing, the mailer places

Dealing with Rising Paper and Postage Costs
June 1, 2005

Postage Costs With paper and postage costs on the rise, you might be considering changing your paper stock to a lighter or cheaper one, or considering reducing your trim size to lighten the single-copy weight. Publishers rarely "degrade" their books in these manners unless they are trying to offset increasing paper and postage costs. They are the two largest expenses a magazine publisher has, and it is a hardship when either goes up. It can be significantly detrimental when both go up at the same time. Paper prices are on the rise, and early next year, postage rates will jump by an

Honor thy CSR
April 1, 2005

Publication-printing companies have slowly changed from a commodity vendor (supplying printing) to a service vendor (fulfilling the publisher's objectives). Successful printers realize that selling services gets and keeps customers. Customers become dependent on a vendor who helps them to be more efficient and profitable. And it is the customer service representative (CSR) who is the link to that relationship. It's the CSR's job to work directly with the publishers and gather all the needed instructions to produce their magazines. The CSR also enters that data into company management systems, tracks its progression and, in some cases, helps prepare invoices. CSRs put out 'fires' and

Production Managers, the Industry's Next Dinosaur
February 1, 2005

It started with the typesetters in the early 1980s. Film strippers, dot-etchers and camera operators were the casualties of the 1990s. Color separators had to quickly reinvent themselves to survive the transition into the electronic millennium. Who is the industry's next obsolete professional? It appears to be the production manager. Is it possible to produce a magazine without a production manager? More and more magazines are doing just that. Like the typesetters and film-based prepress specialists, many responsibilities of the production manager are being replaced by technology or absorbed into other departments. At one time, it was unheard of to even consider that any

Is Synthetic Paper Worth Considering?
June 1, 2004

Even though it's not brand-new to the publishing market, synthetic paper is, among the publishing industry, sort of the new kid in class. We don't know him very well, he acts a little differently than the kids we're used to, and we already have friends, so why take the time to get to know him? As usually happens to the new kid in class, though, one outgoing stranger befriends him and quickly becomes his best pal, and little by little, we'll all get to know him—liking or disliking aside. A few publishers have taken on the outgoing-stranger role and tried this new