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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wanted: More pro-print testamonials

Nathalie Atkinson’s Nov-24th article (detailed in my last post) and a quick check of my old blog posts from about 12 months ago twigged further memories of similarly pro-printing testamonials that were circulating in the media around this time last year.  (See:

Can anyone else provide other links to this kind of helpful evidence reinforcing the power of print?  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In praise of printed catalogues

Today the National Post's articulate columnist Nathalie Atkinson has come out with a strong and entertaining statement about the sales value of printed catalogues, based on consumer behaviour (and using herself as an example).  The article, called “Catalogues & the case for paper cuts”, might make enlightening reading for your printing clients who are thinking of converting to e-commerce exclusively.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games bring new business opportunities for printers

The Pan American Games closed last night in Guadalajara, Mexico, with a ceremony that included an eight-minute segment advertising Toronto and the fact that Ontario’s capital city will host the Games four years from now, from July 10 – 26, 2015.  Toronto’s printer Mayor Rob Ford was present in Guadalajara to waive the Pan American Games flag in the traditional handover ceremony.  Ford was joined by Canada’s Sports Minister Bal Gosal.

The weeklong Parapan American Games for physically challenged athletes will be held in Toronto the following month, from August 7 – 14, 2015.  It will be the third time Canada has hosted the Pan Am games (Winnipeg hosted them in both 1967 and 1999) and the first time ever that Canada will host the Parapan American Games. 
Best of all, both the Pan Am Games and Parapan American Games will bring new business opportunities for printers in Canada.  For more information on these business prospects, please see page 37 of my March-2010 column in PrintAction.  
Further info is also available from the Toronto Pan Am Games website at:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More e-book & p-book milestones

Exciting new milestones the world of e-books and p-books include online giant’s recent announcement of plans to allow students to rent textbooks through its Kindle service.  According to the company, renters can save up to 80 percent compared to the cost of purchasing a physical book.  Users can choose the exact length of a rental, from 30 days to a full year. Rentals can subsequently be extended by the day, if needed, or else converted into a purchase.

Additionally, my June-2011 column for PrintAction details the new e-book and p-book solution launched by Montreal-based giant Transcontinental Printing in partnership with
De Marque, a developer of international platforms for digital content, based in Quebec City.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A print-scented candle for nostalgic e-reader users

A new scented candle tries to emulate the smell of ink on newsprint for people who prefer the convenience of e-readers but miss the aesthetic qualities of print.

Monday, June 13, 2011

U.S. study shows Internet discussion groups = popularity contests

A 6-year study of online discussion groups by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia shows that 2 percent of online discussion-starters received a disproportionate 50 percent of replies.  Additionally, those with many online connections received "preferential attachment" over people with smaller followings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Amazon will release ad-supported Kindle

This week Amazon announced it will be releasing a new version of its Kindle e-book reader which will be cheaper to buy but will display advertising on the screen when the device is not in use.  Priced @ $US25 less than the basic Wi-Fi model, the new device will broadcast special offers from both Amazon and 3rd-party advertisers.  The advantage of the Kindle and advertising is that the display draws no power when it is not refreshed and is always on.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Landmark 400-year-old printed Bible found in English village church

Some people still get plenty excited about printed books:  for instance, a 4-centuries-old King James Bible that turned up recently in St Laurence Church, with a parish of 60 people, in the village of Halmarton, Wiltshire, England. Fewer than 200 original printings of the King James version of the Bible are believed to exist. A tell-tale printing error has been used to authenticate Halmarton’s example as a second edition.

The King James Bible is one of the first translations of Christian scriptures into English, ordered by King James I of England in 1604 and completed by 47 scholars of the Church of England in 1611. This year marks its 400th anniversary.

The King James Bible Trust affirms that surviving examples like Halmarton’s preserve not only a priceless historical record but also a cultural landmark, since the book transformed how people spoke English as well as how they understood God.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York Times erects paywall

The New York Times has launched a pay-for-content model via digital subscription on March 24th in Canada and March 28th in the U.S.A.  Non-paying users will be able to access 20 articles per month at no charge before being asked to subscribe.  Their costs for digital subscriptions range from US$15 to US$35 every four weeks, depending on application (Web, smartphone, tablet, or several combined.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

La Press transitioning from print to digital format

Two competitors have reported that Montreal newspaper La Presse has invested $5 million and earmarked another $25 million to transition to a digital format in the near future, despite a standing 15-year contract with Transcontinental to print the newspaper.  Plans could include reducing the print edition of the newspaper to 75,000 from its current 200,000 copies daily and offering free iPads or other digital devices for those who sign up for a three-year subscription to the e-version.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Borders chain files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Another new development regarding the future of the printed book:  major U.S. book retailer Borders Group has filed for Chapter 11 protection under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Espresso Book Machine for on-demand publishing now available

Clearly, equipment vendors foresee continued commercial viability for on-demand book publishing. Witness the recent advent to market of the Espresso Book Machine, an all-in-one book printing and finishing device that can churn out a 300-page bound volume in less than 4 minutes. Already for sale in the U.S., it will also become available commercially in Canada starting in March. Xerox has inked a deal with inventor On Demand Books to distribute the machine, which Xerox sees being paired with a Xerox 4112 printer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rupert Murdoch launches world’s 1st iPad-only newspaper

Further to my 2-Nov-2010 post and true to Rupert Murdoch's word, his News Corporation has launched the world's 1st iPad-only newspaper. Called The Daily and led by Jesse Angelo, former Executive Director of the New York Post, another News Corporation property, the publication will cost 99 cents US a week or $39.99 USD for a year’s subscription.  In providing news coverage, The Daily intends to focus on in-depth editorial, more akin to a magazine's content than a newspaper's.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More mixed signals on the future of printed books

Further to my 17-Nov-2010 posting, the last few weeks have been another roller coaster ride for anyone wondering about the future of printed books. 

Canada logged a major casualty in the filing for bankruptcy protection of H.B. Fenn, the country’s largest book distributor.

Additionally, Amazon has announced that its sales of Kindle e-books have exceeded not only its hardcover sales (which occurred last year), but now the number of paperbacks it sells as well.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, the New York Times Sunday Book Review assures us that the number of printed books out there remains impressive.  It estimates that in 2010 (after returns), American publishers shipped an estimated 3.2 billion books—or about 10 printed volumes for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.A.

Not surprisingly, speculation and discussion from many quarters continues on a 3-month-old LinkedIn discussion group that asks the question “Do you think printed books will die? Are we all going digital?” at:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Toronto statistician cracks scratch lottery ticket code

Ticket printers & sellers beware!  Thanks to a feature article in this month's "Wired" Magazine, a Toronto statistician is receiving lots of attention for detecting flaws in scratch lottery tickets that make it easy to beat the odds.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Canadian government upholds Internet's democratic roots

Today the Canadian government has championed the founding concept of the Internet as a tool for universal access to information by threatening to reverse a controversial ruling by the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission).  This recent ruling denied independent Internet service providers the right to continue offering flat-fee-for-unlimited-use plans to consumers.  Prior to today's development, Industry Minister Tony Clement had received tens of thousands of emails requesting that the CRTC's decision be struck down.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Manager Know Thyself

Last spring, after “The New York Observer” posted its congratulations to a big-time TV producer on her retirement and plans to launch a 2nd career as a guidance counsellor, they received over 200 comments on line.  Most came from her former employees, claiming the story was bogus and that she was a “foul-mouthed, cliquish bully”, to quote “Psychology Today” reporter Carlin Flora.

Flora reports:  “In his new book, “Good Boss, Bad Boss:  How to Be the Best … and Learn from the Worst,” Robert Sutton, Ph.D., catalogs [the] disproportionate effect that managers have on well-being.  A meta-analysis found, for example, that ‘about 75 percent of the workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job.’

"For the majority of managers, who presumably want to fall on the heart-attack-reducing side of the scale, Sutton shares a key insight:  Good bosses know themselves.  And yet, just being in power is a deterrent to self-awareness, making it especially difficult for leaders to correctly ascertain the impact their behaviors and policies have on their employees.  ‘It turns out that followers, peers, superiors, and customers consistently provide better information about a boss’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks than the boss herself,’ Sutton writes.  …

“[He] suggests they consciously beak out of the power bubble by asking [these info sources] for direct input and feedback.”