Saturday, December 19, 2009

If you won't listen to me about textbooks, maybe you'll listen to a teacher

The following is reposted from a comment to the previous post.

The viewpoint is that of @chadsansing Chad teaches humanities at a charter school and blogs about reforming classroom practice. NBCT, NETS*T

Are any K12 text book publishers going hyperlocal for customized, print-on-demand reading comprehension collections or workbooks for kids?

Another way to leverage the works they've licensed might be to sub-license school districts permissions to remix text books with student input for reading content differentiated to students' levels and interests.

A company could charge the same price as a workbook, but let the school division pay the paper price, using the larger profit margin to pay for the infrastructure to deliver the texts and remix interface to divisions. And why not throw some QR tags on each page back to additional online resources or practice hosted by the company?

I'd rather not send text book companies any more money.

School budgets are drying up, and there's an awful lot that can be done with free software and open-access informational texts. I hope open-source education beats companies to the differentiated-textbook-on-demand punch.

Until there's a compelling collection packaged for easy use, divisions and teachers will probably stick with what they're given. Any chance of open source education drafting authors to produce CC or public domain work for schools? Is this going on already?

Print is D-E-A-D. A twitter conversation.

He is @JeffMello , Founder of Evolution of Communication a social engagement, digital marketing, mobile, and emerging technology consulting company.

Me is @ToughLoveforX , retired.

It began yesterday,
Me: Assertion: #SM is merely a transitional technology. It will get old, fast. The only two mass mediums in the real world are Print and TV.

Then continued this morning,
He: Describe QR please.

Me: QR is a printed ( or displayed on screen ) graphic that can send and receive info from the web with one click on a smart phone.

You can get a good idea of the issues involved at 2D Codes in the Global Media at LinkedIn

He: QR sounds good but old world print with ink...not so much:)

Me: There we go again about "old." I prefer enduring. In 500 years Print has seen it all. And changed as needed to thrive.

as for "old world" China is the one of the oldest in the world. Maybe old is the new "new"? and Print is the next big thing.

He: Print is dead my friend! D-E-A-D!

Me: D-E-A-D? Then howto explain that CGX and Donnelly stock is up over 50% While McClatchy is up almost 7X and Gannett 5X.

He: For Gannett I would say without the research that they have rolled all their media into 1 stock.

Me: I have my little IRA in all print related companies. So far up 85% this year. Print is far from D-E-A-D. Just ignored.

He: Don't think of the medium but content. Newspapers were not successful because they are paper but the journalist's content.

Me: "Don't think of the medium but content" Actually the medium really is the message. McCluhan had it just right.

Re Newspapers:The enduring value of newspapers has never been news, it's always been the paper. Consider @niiu_community .

He: If u define print as also digital then is not dead.

Me: I knew we could agree! Digital printing is Print's adaptive response in the evolution of the communication ecology. :-)

He: Nice use of my company name! U know how to win me over every time:)

Me: U have to keep in mind that I sold Print for 35 years. Back in the day some called me "the prince of bullshit." thx 4 convo :-)

He: LOL! LOve it and look forward to more discussions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Manroland GB is soooo smart. New environment. New Business model

from Printweek:
Manroland GB no longer reliant on press sales | |

"Press manufacturer Manroland GB has said it has replaced its dependency on press sales with a business model that can break even on services and parts.

Managing director Norman Revill said: 'We started to feel things tightening in July 2007. Budgets were being held and printers were only buying what they really needed. From 2007 to 2009, we have completely changed our business model and strategy.

'We have separated our Print Services, Printcom and spare parts business from our sales side and we are able to break even on those three alone. We are set up to break even without sales, so we are sustainable through tough periods.'"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Free Advice to Xerox: Get in front of the toner shortage thing. Today would be good.

I apologize to the folks at for the copy and paste below. I could have done snippets, but the article is just too tightly written. I highly recommend to anyone interested in staying abreast of what's going on in not-the United States.

Meanwhile I mostly love everything I see that come out of Xerox UK, but clearly some system broke down someplace. Too much unneccesary brand damage that comes from stuff like:
According to director Neil Winstanley, there has been little useful contact from the manufacturer and it took a week of phone calls to establish that the order "should be completed next week".

Printers speak out over Xerox toner shortage
Adam Hooker,, 11 December 2009

Printers have said they will seek reimbursement from Xerox after a toner shortage forced a number of companies to cease production.

Digital press manufacturer Xerox said the toner shortage was due to high levels of demand. Toner for the Xerox 700 press is understood to be the most affected and some customers are having to wait up to ten days for deliveries.

The scale of the problem is currently unclear. However, all six Xerox 700 users that PrintWeek spoke to had experienced some disruption to supply of Xerox's wax-based toner, with many having lost income as a result.

Xerox declined to comment on the scale of problem, but said that it was "doing its best" to address any customer concerns.

"We want to make sure we help as much as we can and we are working very, very hard. If customers want to contact with any concerns we will do our best to answer any questions," a spokesman said.

However, printers faced with lost earnings have told PrintWeek that they will be pursuing Xerox for compensation.

Martin Whetton, managing director at Pro DM Solutions in Ripley, said that his company placed an order on 24 November and received two toners on 9 December, when it required 10 to complete a large monthly job.

He estimated that the problem has lost his company around £5,000 worth of work.

He said: "I would consider going after Xerox to cover our losses. I would hope that Xerox would offer compensation without the need for legal action."

Eslewhere, Digital Studio in St Albans launched a new calendar and gift website specifically timed to coincide with Christmas.

Paul Warren, director, said: "We spent £14,000 on this website. If we don't get any toner in we will be doing a lot of refunding. I have pulled adverts off of Google because I don't want to be known as the Moonpig wannabe that couldn't deliver.

"We pay £10,000 a quarter for service, so in a sense we have paid for the toner, it's part of the package. We will be going to Xerox and we hope to prove the orders we have received and then lost as a result, as we stand to lose about £20,000 because of this."

Minuteman in Bristol has also experienced problems with toner deliveries in the past. In October this year, it had to taxi toner from other printers to keep its 700 running.

Managing director Peter Wise said: "We ended up paying for taxis to pick up toner from other printers and charging Xerox. They paid after we provided them with all receipts. We will do that again if we have to."

However, not everyone is chasing reimbursement. Litha Print in Stockport received one set of cartridges on 10 December, having ordered four on 26 November. By that point its machine had "laid idle for five days".

According to director Neil Winstanley, there has been little useful contact from the manufacturer and it took a week of phone calls to establish that the order "should be completed next week".

He said: "I've heard some are considering going after Xerox for lost earnings, but right now all I want is my toner order."

Cheshire printer DXG Media put an order in on 2 December, which is yet to arrive. Managing director Duarte Goncalves explained that the company enough to keep going for the time being, but would begin to worry if nothing has arrived by early next week.

However, for Goncalves, misinformation as much as anything has been the issue here.

He said: "We were told three days was the limit and if we ordered by 2pm we could get it next day. That has never happened."

Xerox would not comment on specific details of the problem or how it was prioritising its deliveries, but Jim Brasser, vice president of Global Consumables Supply Chain at Xerox, said: "We are very much aware of the current, short-term situation concerning the supply of toner cartridges, resulting from growth in demand in certain situations.

"This is not a general shortage and only affects certain products. Our supplies inventory is being replenished daily and shipped to customers immediately. The vast majority of orders are being fulfilled within about a week, and we expect that pace to quicken. We are working closely with our customers to address their needs as quickly as possible."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Exactly Correct from Andy McCourt . Why does so much good sutff come from Australia?

What could I possibly add to a print person who quotes Ovid. So I won't.

Copy & paste from

Top tips to triumph in 2010 – Andy McCourt
It’s customary to look back at the year in flight for the final 2009 issue of Print21, but being the ardent rule-breaker that I am, I’d like to offer readers my ideas for ten pointers to success in 2010.

After all, why write about a truly rotten year when we can all look forward to a much livelier New Year? We can’t undo what has happened but we can learn from it and, to all those printing businesses that have survived and even prospered during the financial meltdown, a big pat on the back!

1) Attack yourself. Sounds crazy but many large corporations use this tactic. Attacking your own weak spots is actually the best defensive strategy there is. It’s not a form of masochism – properly executed it is an organisational improver. Example: you are a mid-sized printer and those pesky print management companies keep sniping accounts away. Tactic: set up a print management company and use your own print operation as just one of many possible suppliers, having to compete along with the rest, no favours. Another example, if you are a high-quality printer fed up with delivering premium product at a knock-down price, set up in opposition to yourself with an ‘El Cheapo Print’ type of concern. It will be profitable, and will improve margins on your premium offering.

2) Get a business coach. No man is an island, we all need to rub shoulders with peers and exchange ideas. But business coaching and/or mentoring goes several steps further. It’s not just for struggling businesses, far from it, fast growing highly successful businesses use professional business coaches to mange the growth and deliver on KPIs. A business coach is your ‘Jimminy Cricket’ or that inner voice that says “don’t do it this way, consider another plan.” Objectivity is paramount and so many printers are nose-to-the-grindstone types who can only see subjective issues. Hire a competent business coach. Google it; I’m not going to do all the work for you!

3) Zig when others are zagging. Bandwagons can be profitable for short spells but you soon fall off. If everyone else is in on ‘the next big thing’ – find something different. Classic Greek sage Ovid wrote: “In the pool where you least expect it, there you will find a fish.” What else can you produce on your existing equipment? Niche markets can be beautiful places until the ravaging hoards de-niche them. Create new niches constantly. And make hay while the Sun shines on them, which it will.

4) Down-sell. “Now he has gone bonkers,” I hear you say. All the sales logic in the world points to up-selling where possible. I’d like to say that in 2010, this should not apply to the printing industry. Get out of the habit of offering longer print runs for diminishing margin return. It just makes you work longer for less. If Mr/s Customer says “okay I need 5,000”, why not say “why don’t we print 1,000 and you can asses the response, we can make any changes, and then print another 1,000 next week.” Naturally, for very short runs that means digital. The customer sees you are saving him money and you are also avoiding redundancy, so saving waste into the bargain. It also puts you in contact with the customer more regularly, which is a good thing and keeps the oppo at bay.

5) Tell fibs about digital. Like it or not, hardly anyone gives a toss about “offset quality” anymore. The ‘in’ word is digital; it is in synch with the zeitgeist of the second decade of the 21st century. So promote your business as ‘Digital, Green and Proud of it.’ You’ll need a digital machine of course but when jobs come in that are screamingly, obviously, common-sensically better placed on an offset press – just do it. And don’t volunteer the fact to the customer. Let them complement the high quality of your digital print. Offset with CTP is really a digital process anyway and if you have a Presstek or other DI press even more so. It’s not really a big fib; just using the secrets of the back-room to provide better customer service and maybe make a bit more margin. If it really bothers you, just say three ‘Hail Caxtons’ and consider yourself absolved of all sin.

6) Advertise more. I don’t mean Yellow Pages. Use your own processes to create dynamic DM to your local business market. Try not to mention “printing.” How about: “We can show you how to attract 50 per cent more customers than you are currently doing.” Something like that. Fish where the fish are.

7) Wrap your truck/s.
Your delivery van or truck is a mobile billboard. If you haven’t already vehicle-wrapped it with snappy graphics, get cracking and experience the cheapest advertising you’ll ever find! Leave the grubby white Toyota Hiaces for the contract courier drivers.

8) Adopt a charity. Charity support is not only good corporate citizenship, but also a great networking method. It puts you in contact with other businesses and individuals and makes you look positively engaged with society.

9) Go to Ipex. Ipex 2010 is on at the National Exhibition Center, Birmingham, UK in May. There will not be a better opportunity to stimulate your brain and see the full glory of print communications until drupa 2012. And they speak English. Well, of sorts.

10) Be a print champion. We’ve all had enough of the “print kills trees” bollocks. As the APIA urges, tell your friends at the BBQ, we are one of the most sustainable industries around and those that criticise us most are the biggest polluters – there are plenty of facts to back this up. Be a printer and be proud of it, proudly read newspapers and magazines and if someone persists with the ‘print bad’ fallacy, take them off your Christmas card list and send them a text message or tweet instead.

Wishing you and yours a very safe and happy Christmas and prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Score another for Xerox (CA) EPS deal with UBC

UBC-Xerox partnership targets costs, sustainability � UBC Public Affairs:

"UBC-Xerox partnership targets costs, sustainability

The University of British Columbia has entered a partnership with Xerox for new and cost-effective document and print management services.

The partnership agreement with Xerox Global Services (XGS) will enable easier, better and less expensive printing and copying of documents, according to Pierre Ouillet, UBC Vice President, Finance, Resources and Operations.

“The agreement will involve virtually all aspects of the document lifecycle, including printing, copying, scanning, faxing, design and delivery of print materials,

WOW. Here comes the HP printernet.HP Launches Printing Network

This deserves a much longer post, but I don't have the time just this minute. More later. But, any one who has followed this blog knows what a printernet is. To see what I mean do a Google search on "Printernet"

It could have been Xerox Premier Partners or Oce's Digital Newspaper Network or Staples. But it's HP.

I'm still hoping they give me a way to get in on the action by figuring out a way to separate the print piece from the computer piece. My bet is that sooner or later.... but not as of today.

The money sentence:
The launch of the PSP Network is an exciting first step that brings a new dimension of versatility and reliability to print buying,” says Martin.

HP Launches Printing Network

"n an effort to drive printing business to its customers, HP announced the launch of the PSP Network, a global on-line directory for print buyers to find local print service providers—what it calls 'PSP'—around the world. The site lists more than 80 countries, from Latvia and Lithuania to Turkmenistan and Tunisia, as well as major print centers in the U.S. and Canada"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Google will change the world of Print: Living Stories and the Google Phone and the elimination of print drivers.

What's next in 2010?
It's for a longer post, but what I see is a land grab in the world of QR and other 2d codes. I also believe that "distribute and print" will get much closer to a tipping point to various printernets. .

Most important is that Managed Print Services will integrate with the commercial print world to enable trackable Print in any form, at any time in any place with a minimum carbon footprint.

It's probably going to turn out to be a big deal.

Why I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.
The world of print has been changing since Apple introduced the Mac and more importantly with Adobe launched PDF. It's been a hard decade for us printers. Contrary to popular wisdom we are probably the most adaptive manufacturing industry on the planet.

My own hypothesis is that the resiliency of our industry comes from the fact that is organized in thousands of small shops. Each is required to innovate and change to stay alive in our local niches. What works quickly spreads. What doesn't work means businesses die. Since they are small the industry overall keeps changing.

At any rate, every twenty years or so something happens outside the world of Print that crystallizes a change and creates a "tipping point." My understanding is that the newspaper strike in the 60's created that "tipping point" for cold type versus hot type. And when the newspaper barons saw the business potential of steam driven printing, the mass newspaper was born.

Consider the Google reality by Q1, 2010.
If Living Story is still not on your radar, Google search on Living Story and take a look. This morning it was confirmed that Google is launching a Google branded unlocked smart phone in January, 2010. They have already distributed thousands of them to their own people.

The disruptive business innovation is that the phone is unlocked which means it will work with any carrier. That means that the "I want to get an iPhone but I hate AT&T " problem disappears. It also means a huge shift of power away from the telco's into the hands of the cvonsumer. Since everyone from Apple to Nokia to the other telco giants are going to have to respond, it plausibly means much greater and faster growth of the smart phone market. What might be described as a "tipping point."

Meanwhile this was posted this week:
Google: Chrome OS will revolutionize how printer drivers are handled, but not in 2010

But printers? As everyone knows, printers have highly specific, unique and complicated drivers associated with them. It’s why an operating system, stripped of its driver support, weighs in at a mere fraction of its initial gigabyte weight. Google is going to have to contend with drivers when they deal with Chrome.

How are they going to do that? Google’s not saying. “”We want to get out of the business of printer drivers. All the problems related to drivers we want to go away,” Upson said. But they say they have a new, “wonderful printing solution” up their sleeves to get rid of printer drivers once and for all. But that’s long-tail. “If [printer support] is important to you, Chrome OS is not the OS for you in 2010.”