The Fully Rounded Printer
Digital workflow? Check. Co-mailing and co-palletization? Check. List management? Check. Web site design, video hosting and podcasts? Not so fast!
Printers have tweaked their business models to make print publishing more efficient and more accurate but as publishers continue to shift their focus online, a high tech print publishing solution sometimes isn’t enough. Some printers are finding new opportunities by offering digital and online services that go beyond just a digital facsimile of the magazine to offer a full-fledged interactive strategy.
While this may be of limited appeal to larger publishers that have the resources and the know-how to handle online initiatives in-house, many smaller and mid-sized publishers like the convenience of having both print and their growing online business run through their printer. "This positions us as a one-stop shop with one bill," says Brown Printing pre-media specialist Steve Zdanowicz. "You have the big boys at the top, such as Time, Conde Nast, and Hachette. But as you come down that pyramid there is this whole slew of publishers with a single title or maybe a couple of titles, that haven’t got the resources to commit to straight digital editions. We might as well draw revenue from the other side of it to counter-balance. You’re not getting any more money for your printing. It’s become about being the lowest cost provider and offering services that tie your client to it."
Brown has partnered with iMirus, an e-media vendor developed out of the publishing industry that at one time doubled as a magazine publisher with Golf Connoisseur. "We talk to the client to get a sense of their goals," says Zdanowicz. "Where is the focus on the digital edition? Do they want to start off with facsimile then hyperlink the advertisers and then add some multimedia and audio? Are they looking at designing specifically for the Web?"
The American Pharmacists Association tapped Brown primarily for its print products but is increasingly turning to the printer for its online services, including digital editions and Web hosting. "We like the capabilities they have with their e-book," says association publisher Frank Bennicasa. "It’s got the look and feel of a paper magazine but the functionality of anything you’d want in a Web page. There’s a comfort level for people who like looking at print."
There’s also a comfort level for the production staff in seeing the same files used for both print and online. The association’s flagship publication;Pharmacy Today;has an e-book version with all past issues going back to September of last year at Pharmacytoday.org. Visitors can pull up a splash page and anyone going through the e-magazine can link directly through an advertiser’s ad. Other clickthroughs will take people through a continuing education section. "As soon as they finish processing our files for print, Brown sends them off to iMirus, which begins processing them for posting as an e-book," says Bill Succolosky, director of creative services with the association. "At the same time, we can send them a spreadsheet with the advertiser links we want. iMuris prepares the files and lets us know when we can take look at first draft. We check the links and when print version hits mail, we give them go ahead to post the digital version."
Brown is helping the association branch out beyond the digital edition. For a recent association conference in Atlanta, all speakers were videotaped and that video then sent to Brown to process. An e-mail blast went out to the association membership that the podcasts was ready for download. "This brings us into the 21st Century," says Bennicasa.
For more on printers offering online solutions, look to Folio: Magazine’s August issue.