A recent study shows that overall custom publishing expenditures this year dipped to $912,532-a 20 percent drop off and the industry’s first decline in five years. The annual study, which was released Tuesday, was conducted by the Custom Publishing Council and Publications Management magazine.

For-profit companies increased their custom publishing expenditures to a record high of $1.1 million, up 6.2 percent, while spending at non-profits plunged 33.6 percent to less than $800,000, according to the report. "We’ve had steady spending increases since 2002, so we are expecting that this dip in expenditures is temporary," Custom Publishing Council executive director Lori Rosen said in a statement.

Spending allocations to digital publications remained mostly flat this year at 17 percent of market share, down from 19 percent in 2006. Spending at companies with more than $1 million in revenue was down more than 20 percent this year to $1.3 million. Small company spending fell off 12 percent to $863,857 in 2007.

On the rise, however, is the use of outside agencies to create custom publications, according to the report. Overall reported outsourcing was up from 43 percent in 2006 to 48 percent this year. Companies this year have outsourced mostly to custom publishing firms (up 35 percent), design firms (up 30 percent), ad agencies (up 28 percent) and PR firms (up eight percent).

"The good news is that more and more companies are not only outsourcing, but they are going first to custom publishing companies," Rosen said. "That’s a trend we expect to continue because of the quality of work offered by custom publishing firms."

Of the 200 companies surveyed, 40 percent said they were hoping to increase custom publishing expenditures in 2008 and 48 percent indicated they would remain the same.

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