Budget Forecasting Secrets
November 1, 2007

One of the joys of Excel is that there are so many ways to skin your calculation cat. You can assemble a budget in any way you like because the ultimate math involved is very simple: Multiply the price times the number of times you buy something, then sum everything. It may even seem unnecessary to layer a little complexity into a budget worksheet, but there are some good reasons to elevate your Excel skills. The hallmark of a great budget spreadsheet is that it contains a little intelligence of its own: the ability to handle a wide range of details more consistently than

Symbiosis or ‘Death Spiral’?
September 1, 2007

Printers often demonstrate a genuine interest in the financial well-being of publishers. They prove this every time they hold or cut prices when a postal or paper increase threatens their customers’ profitability. Now, this is not entirely a selfless act on their part. Healthy publishers are essential to the print industry, and after all, we are all in this together. Or are we? It’s common to consider the printer-publisher bond as one of mutual dependence and to note the win-win aspects of what can be called a symbiotic relationship. Each party wants the other to grow and prosper. But what happens to a symbiotic relationship

Is Your Printing Contract Working Against You?
June 1, 2007

The first installment of this series, “Print Contract Negotiation In-Depth” (in the March issue of Publishing Executive and online in the “manufacturing” community on, focused on some of the essential elements of a printing contract. This installment will address whether or not your contract is actually working for you or against you. What purpose does it serve? A publisher makes a commitment in time, and a printer makes a commitment in price. It’s critical to determine if those commitments balance. In other words, is a publisher’s willingness to stay out of the market and stick with one printer equivalent in value to a

Print Contract Negotiation In-Depth
March 1, 2007

Comedian Steven Wright asks a volunteer from the audience to assist in a juggling routine, and the novice messes up one of the tosses. Wright says, “No, no. It’s my fault. I picked her.” This is worth remembering when negotiating a printing contract—you did, after all, pick your printer. But unlike in comedy, mistakes your printer makes aren’t so funny. Contract negotiations can define your relationship, so you want to conduct them wisely. First, you need to negotiate the right to negotiate. There is a tendency for printer or publisher to claim that difficulties will never arise, as if citing the possibility

What Do the Latest Printer Mergers Mean to You?
February 1, 2007

As a print buyer, I am usually dismayed with every acquisition or merger, as it usually means one less source (and competitor) in the print-buying process. The demise of competition may affect prices, but usually the blending of two companies creates a stronger company … hopefully keeping the better aspects of each company. So many mergers and acquisitions have happened over the last 20 years. I have worked with these 25 different publication printers during that time: Holiday Press, American Signature, Foote & Davies, W.A. Krueger, Greenfield Printing, Combined Communications Services, World Color Press Inc., Northeast Graphics, United Litho Inc., Alden Press, William Byrd

17 Tips for Publishing Better, Faster and Cheaper
December 1, 2006

Looking back, 2006 has been a relatively good year for many publishing companies. If you review the ongoing Publishers Information Bureau reports, it appears overall consumer-magazine ad revenue is up over previous years, and digital revenues continue to climb to help offset print losses of the last few years that for a number of business-to-business and consumer publications have yet to be recovered. Smart publishers, however, aren’t relying solely on revenue to drive profits. Rather, they’re continuing to focus on best practices in publishing processes and technological implementation to become more efficient and cut costs. Publishing Executive found leaders in the industry to share

Over-Spending on Your Imposition?
September 1, 2006

Every issue of a magazine, you have to prove your mettle by seeking the most economical imposition. For some publishers, manufacturing costs put constraints on the configurations ad and edit can create, but at most companies the production department has to print what it has been handed. And, in all fairness, offering flexibility to ad sales is worth some inefficiencies on press. The smarter you are about the costs of imposing the book, the better you can steer the publisher toward the best balance of cost and sales opportunity. There are three influences on the ultimate economy of your imposition decisions: the number of

Thinking Ink: 4 Ways To Cut Costs
April 1, 2006

Controlling the cost of ink might seem like hoping to change the weather. After all, your printer makes the purchasing decision, and the ink manufacturers manage the rising costs in petroleum, pigments and chemicals. As an end user, you’re at the end of the chain, but there are four ways to tackle this cost element. First, consider the gap between the price to the printer and the price to you. The impact of the markup is negotiable at contract time, even when renewing. Because printers have latitude in this area, it’s always worth challenging ink prices for concessions. To a printer, markups are found money,

Take the Express to the Press
November 1, 2000

Red Herring is one of those publications that make the magazine publishing community swoon. Ah, to pick it up from the newsstand and feel the noticeable weight of an issue reaffirms our faith that magazine publishing is by no means on the decline. This monthly mag is T-H-I-C-K, chock full o' ads! In some respects, the magazine's bulk eventually became its curse. "Three years ago, we were a monthly magazine, averaging about 148 pages, with a circulation of less than 75,000 subscribers," recalls Fran Fox, Red Herring's vice president of manufacturing. By 2000, the magazine's girth bulged with issues ringing in at an impressive

Double Takes
April 1, 2000

Publishers offer experiential evidence regarding the lucrative value of reprints and e-prints. One of the main functions of an article is to provoke a reader to, in fact, read. What better affirmation for a publication than to know that not only has a magazine been effective in communicating once, but that an encore could be waiting in the wings? Therefore, selling a reprint is much like selling the same ticket to the performance hundreds—even thousands of times—according to some top industry professionals. "The best thing that can happen to a company," says Chuck Naughton, director of publisher services, Reprint Services, St. Paul, MN, "is