Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at

Thursday, December 31, 2009

No Guardian Technology in print today so checked the website finding a story already in print - the UK librarians are getting worried about legislation on archiving the UK web. Written by Scotland Correspondent so the pressure may be from National Libary of Scotland.

Includes a statement

The internet is fast becoming the dominant form of publication in the UK: about a third of all works currently published are only in digital form and that number is increasing dramatically.

So this is the context for IPEX. The librarians have a view on communications and print in the mix.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I am at the Online Information show today and tomorrow. Olympia with IMS tech aspects at the back. There is an XML zone claiming to offer support for an integrated publishing workflow. But nothing on JDF. Trust me I am a blogger. No names but I have checked a couple of likely stands. "There is no customer demand." "Never been asked for that."

I think this is a great danger for the printing industry. There are a large number of content providers here. They will get the idea that XML relates to digital workflow but print has gone from the scene.

FT for example. No plans to discontinue print at this time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am gradually finding out about Adobe at Online Information. Mekon tell me about the XML Theatre and at first it seems there is no Adobe presentation. But looking closer i was puzzled by the firm "Creative Solutions" on Wednesday. Is this someting new? Checking Johnathan Ferman on LinkedIn it turns out he actually works for Creative Solutions, Adobe Systems. So that is clear enough but it confirms to me that the Adobe promotion energy is not exactly concentrated on this one.

14:00 - 14:30 - XML Pavilion
Discover how the Adobe eBook platform makes reading an immersive experience-everywhere and across devices. Join us to explore how the Adobe eBook platform enables reader engagement through a streamlined workflow for authoring, protecting and delivering digital books. Hosted by Adobe product expert Jonathan Ferman, this seminar shows how to enable a seamless reading experience across multiple screen types and why an open, interoperable eBook platform serves your readers best.

Just the sort of thing we need to know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Now back in Exeter. Can access Adobe sites by getting past the Flash intro. I did not make it up about the problems over the last couple of weeks. It really was the case that most sites were ok but Adobe impossible to access. Deep in the Lake District the caravan site had enough wifi to access Gmail. Crows in Lancaster was fine for Twitter. But in both cases the wonderful video on the Adobe front page is just a chance to freeze and fall over. Close application, start again.

Obviously this is my fault. We should all get enough bandwidth for the Adobe future of video and animated pages. Or maybe not. Maybe Adobe should have some way of communicating with a range of devices.

So back to the e-book. Cannot find much more as it happens. Once you get to the list of Adobe press releases it is mostly about Google support for video standards, things like that. Searching on Google blogsearch finds the Read Write Web linking to an Adobe blog.

Adobe Expanding Investment in Digital Publishing

As part of a restructuring announced yesterday, Adobe has made the decision to expand its investment in digital publishing, creating a new organization focused on delivering products to increase digital revenue opportunities for book, newspaper and magazine publishers. This organization will combine the efforts of Adobe's eBook business responsible for the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, Adobe Content Server, Adobe Digital Editions, and PDF and EPUB authoring support in Adobe InDesign with Adobe's digital newspaper and magazine efforts responsible for, among other products, the collaboration with the New York Times to create the AIR-based Times Reader 2.0.

The decision to increase investment in this area underscores the importance that Adobe has always given to digital publishing as well as the bright future it sees in helping publishers to deliver compelling digital publications that support a variety of business models: subscription, advertising, retail and other emerging models. We are particularly excited about what we have in store for 2010. We plan to further our reach to emerging mobile reading platforms to allow readers to read anywhere, on any device. With Adobe's acquisition of Omniture, we will help publishers measure and understand how their readership interacts with and uses their content. But, most of all, we will continue to deliver products that make digital books, newspapers and magazines a terrific experience for readers.

We look forward to working with our existing customers and business partners and welcome any new inquiries as we continue our progress in digital publishing.

So what I now think is that the statements in the Teleread blog were based on another blog. Now obviously I have great respect for blogs as a source but I also notice that there is nothing about the e-book in the official Adobe messaging machine. The MARS project for XML in PDF has been largely based on a blog and where is that going?

I also got to the Events page on the UK Adobe site and find there is nothing yet about Online Information although it appears there will be an Adobe stand or booth. notice this is not called the Online Video and Animation Show though information takes many forms. Don't get me wrong. I am open to being told about Flash. But I start with an interest in Adobe Classic, defined flat pages including text. So that will be my starting point. Any link suggestions welcome to find some info.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I did find some wifi in the remote spot I was hiding last week. News seems to be that Adobe are sacking a significant number of people but are more interested in e-books etc. Through Teleread found a blog from one of the people leaving. The official Adobe site fell over. Now this week I am in a cafe middle of Lancaster. Most sites ok but Adobe still falls over. Blank space where the Flash video may be. No chance to click on news before it freezes. So if I was just interested in Flash and video I would just blame the bandwidth and wait till nect week. But I think this may be a problem for Adobe. The Scribd site works fine. My conclusion is that they are actually interested in documents as I am used to. More on this later when I have more idea on what Adobe states as what they are doing.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Story for OhmyNews about e-books and the LCC Futures Conference. Running a bit late but links into social networking so counters the idea that only printed books help make new friends.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

There are now some clips on YouTube from the LCC Futures Conference. I have started with the eBook as this seems to be a crunch issue for the current situation for print. There is a playlist that includes some presentations from the London Book Fair.

1.Why the eBook will never happen- Chris Linford on barriers around electronics.
2.Ian Lacey explains how the structure in a book supports education.
3.James Fraser celebrates book design but recognises that digital devices are coping with large amounts of text.
From London Book Fair,
5. Sony
7.advice for publishers and
8.some detail on the ePUB format.

It might be better to start with the London Book Fair ones and then look at the problems identified at LCC Futures but this depends on what you have seen already.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thinking about the LCC Futures conference and the information that the internet is now fourty years old. Chris Linford spoke about personal computers as being not quite fourty years old and claimed that technology innovation usually takes about that long. For example electricity in the home or the motor car. But this cannot be exact. The internet did not seem to be happening much until the early nineties so appearances are not much of a guide.

This would help in my take on IPEX. If it is the Web To Print IPEX, following the Web To Print drupa, then the background of being roughly fourty years into the internet is relevant. Give or take say three percent either way. I may still experiment with fiction and time travel but there is the basis of a theory that may get past the fact checkers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yesterday at LCC Futures the Microsoft demo of server streaming used Big Buck Bunny for content. Attribution is all that is asked on creative commons terms. Surely they should mention that Blender is available and that many open source graphics options are on the scene.

Other than that the Silverlight aspects seem to work ok. No sign of Adobe so far but the story is much the same. Convergance of phones and TV sets sometime soon. Video everywhere.

Meanwhile the LCC is being reorganized around "design" and "media" though i don't understand this so far or where "print and publishing" fits in.

More later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yesterday Ian Lacey's keynote for the LCC Futures Conference included a showing of this from YouTube-

Is there a continuous community around the LCC / London college of Printing as was? The recent graduates are starting to turn up and describe what they find. Seems a bit different to the classic machine minder. More later. I am in the Elephant shopping centre and have half an hour to find the way out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Found web access at the elephant. Upstairs ina cash exchamge place.

Adobe still doing press on e-books occasionally

Barnes and Noble promoting ePub and PDF. seems very sensible not to use some strange format that only Barnes and Noble would understand.

I am not expecting anyone from Adobe to be at the LCC Futures Conference. They seem to rely increasingly on web presence and impact in the USA.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The LCC Futures conference is later this week, Wednesday to Friday at the LCC, Elephant and Castle. I have made some notes from previous stories for OhmyNews. It may help to have a bit of perspective. Then a few notes from recently.

Print Morphs Into Communication 2005

John Birkenshaw (PIRA) welcomed print companies who chose descriptions such as "a full service communications consultancy" and saw the future of print as "a software based process."

Marcus Kirby from Vertis PRS mentioned "those horrible spam emails" as the part he liked least.

Adobe, Jutta Koch on what became the PDF Print Engine

Filipa de Chassey from Antenna Audio, wireless Tate Modern

Alan Sekers paid £30,000 in 1984 for a Quantel Paintbox

Adobe Skews Away From Print 2006
Adobe launch Acrobat 8, not much about JDF

Andy Pieroux suggested during the conference that Xerox would no longer use the slogan "The New Business of Printing" but switch to "The News Business of Communication."

Positive Focus promote Jaws PDF Server for knowledge workers

"One take on the Adobe marketing priorities is that print as a prospect has more or less disappeared."

London College Mixes Communication and Print 2007
Ian Lacey claims that e-learning has not been a success as hoped for.

Chris Linford spoke on problems of web copyright for creatives

Colleen Murrell from Deakin University on video journalism and iTunes University also Alan Greenberg from Apple

Martin Brown from Asset TV on a web channel

Web features in presentations from recent graduates

Show daily printed short run by Canon

LCC Conference Considers the Inevitability of the E-Book

Ian Lacey claimed that the printed book is "the last bastion of defence against hyperlinking."

Heidelberg demonstrate Anicolor

OhmyNews editors reverse my headline and sub headline-

"Heidelberg presents offset litho as digital workflow"

Background on ePUB

"Litho has improved, but these are marginal and incremental gains. In digital printing there are going to be step changes. " Robert Stabler, HP UK

Recently Adobe MAX had very little I noticed that was not about Flash, but I found one presentation about ePUB through a blog.

e-learning is still doing ok, I think. Almost not mentioned as a web aspect for learning is normal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

ipex5 lcc shows print as part of communication

sometime around 2010 it will become clear why the LCC is not called the LC Print.

IPEX could be a time to write about this again

to be amended
IPEX4 inkjet targets runs of 2000

Will wait on guidance from other blogs such as Andy Tribute

There will be a result out of actual working machines. My guess is that 2000 will be the run claimed by inkjet so the litho response will be interesting.

to be amended
ipex3 premedia redefined by journalists

Checking out premedia section to study what the word means. Can text be published directly to web and devices as well as a print workflow?

Could start with looking at Haymarket and Guardian group as publishers. There is a mismatch sometimes between what they write and what they are doing. Guardian writes not much on print technology, as if it has always been there and nothing much happens. But they did spend £500m on manroland kit. Not many UK orders in 2010?

to be amended
ipex2-Adobe not really there

Guess is that #Adobe will not have a stand/booth but will just show through PDF Print Engine OEMs. Implication that Adobe Classic is over as a marketing message. Based on impression of Print09Chicago.

To be amended.
IPEX#1 Heidelberg litho for short runs

Draft first story from IPEX 2010, also a test of time travel.

Early press conference will cover comparison with digital, such as inkjet.

See previous story from Total Print Expo 2008

To be amended later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here is a link to a video from What They Think.

Fuji was close to the Heidelberg stand at Total Print Expo last year in London.

Main points

The official launch is still intended for IPEX. That is an actual device, not a "cyber joke".

Runlength up to 2,500 . Litho will have to show some comparison.
Impression of Print09 in Chicago continues to suggest that time travel is unavoidable. Reality of Chicago now compared to claims for IPEX 2010 suggests much scope for disruption. Sometime soon.

Through Neil Stratton on LinkedIn comes this quote from an editorial in Deutscher Drucker ( not sure where the translation happened)

These days when trade shows are held all those taking part are looking for clues about the future economic situation—and the printing industry is no exception. One of our industry’s largest shows of the year, Print 09 in Chicago, has therefore come under sharpened scrutiny.
That the stands sizes and the once over-elaborate structures were substantially cut back one might take as a positive sign of a return to normality; but the fact that many companies completely reinterpreted the term ‘exhibitor’ and simply didn’t show products at all is something that the visitors can hardly welcome. To some extent these exhibits were replaced by little ‘cyber jokes’ to be viewed on oversized touchscreens. But is that enough to make a print manager get in his or her car and drive several hundred kilometres to a show?

One thing is clear, when firms such as Manroland or Kodak no longer show systems, it forces not just the show organizers but also all the other exhibitors to rethink. Or, in other words, how little can one present on the stand without disappointing the visitors and customers? After all, it was a survey by the Print 09 organizers themselves that revealed before the show that visitors were very keen to see machines and systems. At the same time, they also expected to use it as an opportunity to discuss innovative applications and lucrative areas of business

So far as visitor figures go, there were unfortunately no positive signals from Print 09. Whilst the largest Chinese print show, China Print in Beijing a few months back, left one in no doubt that the Chinese print industry had pulled itself together, the empty halls in Chicago made it clear that the US market continues to be in deep crisis.

Thing is, the "cyber jokes" can be done online. They have already started. Actual kit working in real time still crucial for a decent loop of online and Birmingham UK.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Found this through Twitter from MarkzwareTV. I thought my own videos were shaky. Someone should give away external microphones on the way in to IPEX.....

Is print now part of communication?

This note is intended for the IP3 website (Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing) . It may be an article or more like a blog post if other people add to it. It is mostly opinion but starts from some facts.

The London College of Communication will host a Futures Conference on October Wednesday 21st - Friday 23rd. Previously this was located in Earls Court as part of Total Print Expo but this show has been cancelled for 2009. The change of scope to include litho in Digital Print World was not enough to expand a base. The Futures Conference has had a different direction, taking digital to include the Web and new media.

I have written reports on previous conferences for OhmyNews, a news website in Korea. Last year they switched my headlines so the talk at the conference about e-books became the main story and the subheading was about Heidelberg demonstrating litho for runs under 50. It turns out the editors may have had a case for doing this. Including the content on mobile phones there has been increasing interest in e-books and devices. I usually include opinion from people I meet about the name change from London College of Printing to LC Communication. Hardly anyone supports this as LCP is still widely known and the Communication word has not really been promoted or explored.

IPEX recently announced that John Warnock and Chuck Geschke from Adobe are to be Champions of Print for IPEX 2010. IPEX has effectively already started in terms of presence on Twitter and general promotion. However as far as I can make out there was not much Adobe presence at Print09 in Chicago. They definitely did not attend Total Print Expo in 2008 and Apple decided not to buy space at drupa. Computer companies have a radical view on the speed of change and what is worth advertising. The recent Adobe press releases are mostly about Flash and video.

My guess is that the products regarded as Adobe Classic - Postscript and PDF - are regarded as mature and Macromedia is effectively repositioned as Adobe(FLSH). This may be just some strange behaviour that the UK can ignore or it may anticipate some disruption that will be evident fairly soon. By next May there could be some significant changes. At IPEX there is a category of "pre-media" but not much clarity on what this means.

Many e-books are in the EPUB format, based on XML. The speed and flexibility of the Web means that publishing can be interactive. So far the Job Definition Format (JDF) has not been promoted as a way for print customers to specify requirements. Web to Print appears to be just another browser screen but XML for hard copy is a topic to explore if print continues as part of a publishing mix.

IPEX will continue on a large scale, partly because of the global audience. Annual events such as Total Print Expo may give a better indication of what is happening in the UK, even when postponed. The Futures Conference will discuss most related issues and it may soon be time for acceptance of the word "communication", something print is part of. It will be also be interesting if details are public on how the courses are arranged around media, design and publishing.

The Elephant and Castle is not a hard place to find, but for people who cannot be there some online social networking could start soon and then continue through October. My own Twitter tag is #will789gb.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Found this looking for PDF-A ahead of the meeting at Print09 tomorrow. Seems to be the main event for PDF.

My sense of time is getting more vague. IPEX have announced that John Warnock and Chuck Geschke are the latest Champions in Print. Will they be there in May? If not at least there can be some blog links. Can't remember anyone from Adobe being in the Printweek 100 ever. But can remember loads of stories about various issues that would result in PDf never being implemented quite as claimed. So this blog is right to continue as being in 2002, a time when a bit of cred for PDF would have been an extra.

Continues on the blog for drupa 2008, just a bit closer to real time.

Please add comment if you remember Adobe UK in the Printweek 100. Rough dates would also be interesting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is another time travel post. Subject to revision obviously. But as of today I am working on the assumption that Adobe Classic , Postscript and PDF, has more or less gone, traded in for Macromedia or Adobe(FLSH). Print 09 has started and a Google News search finds that What They Think reports that Kodak include the PDF Print Engine in Prinergy Workflow 5.1. So it is for the equipment stands to show what PDF offers. I cannot find that there is an Adobe stand.

Meanwhile there is a press release for Adobe Story, a new script support launched at IBC in Amsterdam. More like the Flash future.

As suggested previously, if Adobe Classic is not worth promoting then the margins may be about to find a new level.

If someone reading this is in Chicago and finds an Adobe stand please add a comment. Obviously I am just guessing from a distance.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Stories intended for OhmyNews about Technology events mostly in the UK

Previous stories for OhmyNews have covered trade fairs etc in the UK with some reference through web links to other events. IPEX 2010 has already started as promoted so this list covers other events ahead of this. Most of the technology seems fairly stable now. I do not expect many surprises in the next nine months. The issues are about how the potential is implemented.

Print 09 Chicago

11-16 Sept

Stories could be similar to those expected for IPEX-

Heidelberg claims short runs for litho (see Total Print Expo last year)

Adobe lost in Macromedia (Postscript has vanished, concentrate on Flash)

Pre-media to scope e-books, video

"This is a web-to-print event" - Zipper

IP Expo
7-8 Oct

Includes cloud and mobile

XML possible, ahead of Online Informationm / IMS, see below

Adobe MAX

4-7 Oct

Adobe event, USA only in real time. Mostly Flash, I guess.

The Frankfurt Book Fair now includes a tech aspect

14-18 Oct

Tools of Change one day version


Also White Space from Bernd Zipper so could relate to drupa

The white space / weiss-raum blog

Expect more tech developments around e-books

Scribd ok? London publishers could still ignore it but they would be wrong

Inkjet for short run books. (could be at a print show)

London College of Communication Futures Conference

Total Print Expo has folded this year butsomething will happen at LCC

some time in October

Can i write another story for Ohmynews about the change from Print to communications? needs some better info on the changes in LCC structure.

Online Information / IMS
1-3 Dec

XML at the back as IMS. EPUB format for e-books, JDF for hard copy.
No sign of PDFXML or Adobe.

13 -18 Jan 2010

Netbooks, compare with phones. Operating Systems.

Learning technologies

27-28 Jan

Adobe appearance at an adult show

Book Fair arrives in London

19-21 Apr

Scribd ok? Yes, i think by then it should be possible to sell from UK.
If not, special lobby if they have a stand.



18-25 May

Stories see above, Chicago.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Couple of things have happened that make me think a substantial shift in the position of print is already happening. Personal Computer World has stopped publishing as hard copy. Printweek has started to Twitter and also published a story about social networks online. So the summer drift is over as I try to make sense of this.

There is a couple of month delay in any case on the cover date but I think the last one was August. As September looms I was finding it hard to locate anything more recent in a newsagent. Sure enough a search on Google finds a story by Guy Kewney in the Register. This was back in June so I am way behind. Apparently the Golden Age was long ago. I did notice they started to repeat reviews of Sinclair and Compaq kit so the audience profile could have been getting older. My Google search also found the Jordan Times with a consideration on whether personal computers face extinction. Jean-Claude Elias concludes this is not the case though mobile devices such as phones are a bit different. Not many people will take a screwdriver to them and plug in a few extra chips. Or buy a print guide on where they went wrong in the attempt. Current devices are part of consumer electronics. Most of the time they just work. So this is part of the reason for declining magazine sales, linked to the fact that most devices have some way to read text. Both trends are getting stronger. It may just be that I personally have studied Personal Computer World for twenty years or so, but the fact this ceases suggests to me that other print publications will also switch online.

Meanwhile Printweek is not only involved in Twitter but prepared to publish an article by Matt Whip that explains what social networks are about. Several examples are reported where print service providers have used online promotion. Quite often stories about an e-book development include some sections on why the book itself will always be better or why some internet technology is unlikely to be widely accepted. In this case the story is uniformly positive and encouraging. There is no reason why Twitter and print cannot coexist. But this story seems to me to mark a new stage in what print journalists are prepared to write about. The idea of print as just one part of communications takes a while to accept. In 2004 the London College of Printing was renamed as the London College of Communications. Many people in print think this was a mistake, including some LCC staff. Next step, continue this blog on Twitter in short sentences, my tag will789gb where gb means the book is going. Note gone, but just a bit shaken at the moment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is print dead or is there a new basis for print? If so, when did this happen? Maybe it takes a while for something to be realised. The timescale to reflect on this could be over this summer when the print version of Digital Printer is planned not to appear. Apparently the eight issues a year have already appeared to some extent and will be concentrated in the autumn. So informed and current discussion will resume just ahead of Total Print Expo in October.

The May print version has an editorial by Simon Eccles assuring us that "Kindle2 won't be the end of print". I have already given away the news as i see it. "if you don't see Digital Printer for a few weeks, never fear. We will be updating the website and writing the weekly email newsletter." Still, the piece starts off with how various devices have failed over two decades because "printed books cost peanuts, don't need batteries and it won't break the bank if you leave them on the bus by mistake." However, the development seems to be the announcement of the Kindle DX, the larger screen and the involvement of newspapers. "This time newspapers are treating it with a bit more thought. Something that replaces printed editions is a bit close to home."

So expect more from print journalists on this sort of topic. On the drupa blog I have mentioned the White Space / "" at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Bernd Zipper view that print has already died but is coming back on a web platform. Something like that. At this point there is copy that could be associated with the vent although maybe not all the stands are booked. The test will come with the actual event and what sort of claims can be backed up. Fortunately Digital Printer will be back in hard copy sometime later. Will they send a technology reporter to a book fair? Why not, the London one had a digital zone that made a lot of sense.

Searching on Google often finds stuff from long abo such as this from Guy Kewney in 2007

Print isn't dead. It just needs re-inventing to live with the Internet age.

Not sure if this started in NewsWireless but it is archived by The Register.

The scenario for 2012 is that an A3 colour print version is produced rapidly with the combination of stories required for each person. Can be picked up on the way to work.

At the London Book Fair there was the Espresso book machine that claims to deliver a book in about five minutes. Scribd could deliver texts but how to combine them for input to Espresso is not yet obvious. Still, the idea is worth looking at that print has died as we knew it but is ok a something else.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Journalism as rambling might make sense. Chances of interviews decrease all the time. I did phone Heidelberg about Total Print Expo and the answer is they don't know yet. Long ago I sent some questions to the Guardian for Alan Rusbridger. No reply though he has replied to comments on his blog so this is the sort of thing that is more likely. At the time I followed ABC numbers but it became clear that there is no model for how news organisations move online and no integrated ABC figures to show how titles do as print and Web.

Recently I notice that the print Guardian seems to carry on in a print sort of way. Attacks on bloggers are quite frequent. News about digital developments sometimes missing. The new Amazon Kindle has not turned up in my print Guardian. Announced Wednesday, this is Friday. However online there was a blog from Bobbie Johnson on Tuesday and a story updated yesterday though I only found it through Google.

Kindle DX heralded as "saviour of newspapers" apparently. So what do they mean? Can't be paper as such, it must be about news organisations. So far New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe are signed up for the new device with possible cheap hardware with a subscription. So would the Guardian do something similar in the UK? PDF can display on the larger screen without reflow. The PDF version of the Guardian is more or less a secret in the UK but could do with a relaunch.

Maybe it is just that different people make different decisions but the effect is that the print version of the Guardian seems to ignore a lot of actual news. Do they think the print audience is just going to stay loyal as a source of income and has no idea what they do online? If they have a coherent plan, why not tell people about it? I could be wrong about the lack of Kindle stories but this blog is one way of checking. Chances of the book aspects turning up on Saturday? Quite low I would think.

Also today Printweek hard copy version has a story about magazines that makes no mention of the Web either as a cause of declining advertising revenues or as a publishing option. Yet Haymarket as such seems to be moving online quite rapidly. Marketing Direct is now mostly a website. Print organisations can offer web design and digital communication. Printweek could do more to report what other magazines are thinking about and new devices such as the Amazon Kindle.

I will try a few emails but my guess is that new information will come about mostly through search and blog comments.

This IPEX blog is mostly about the UK. Meanwhile new developments may be included in the drupa blog where the memory of the innovation parc is still fresh.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thinking about imagining IPEX is already happening. Not much will happen in the meantime as far as I can tell. The Printweek printed report on Northprint includes a statement that Total Print Expo is still "on the cards" following a significant drop in numbers for Northprint. So my guess is that there is a 70% chance of it happening and a 50% chance of Heidelberg being there. But this still may not be a very useful test on what is possible for book production. Jo Francis from Printweek has made a note to check out the Espresso in about six months time. This could be as significant an event. A lot of these tests are mostly spin, or culture. If digital book production is gaining attention, some way could be found for Blackwell to appear positive.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Printing and bookselling could fit together in various ways. For a long time there ahave been bookshops as an extension of a print operation. Cambridge University Press has a shop mostly with stock from their own titles. Most printers have had to get in stock from other sources if they wanted a shop to continue. So far there has not been much of a welcome for the Espresso and the development that Blackwell offer instant print on Charing Cross Road. I think printers could look at this again and use the publicity to investigate other possible combinations of online content and digital printing. Recent blog post by Jo Francis on the Printweek community site refers to reports that the Espresso binding may fall apart. She plans to visit Charing Cross Road within six months and check whether interest continues. I saw the final products at the London Book Fair and briefly at the Blackwell shop and I think the binding problem can be solved if it exists on any scale. Several people seemed well pleased with the result.

Looking at the detail on the reports of binding problems, it was only the first effort that fell apart on the visit by Valentine Low reported in the Times. The second one was ok so the process took 13 minutes. Paul Manning lists several problems in comment on anearlier Printweek report, but he also states that the problems could be resolved in a year or so.

The print industry has better binding equipment and suitable kit for short runs. It is still unclear what the Espresso runs will be like, especially for the originals people are asking for. There may be opportunities for print organisations to work with bookshops. Maybe there is space for more instant print on Charing Cross Road.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Redtie will talk about Web2Print at Northprint.

At the drupa Innovation Parc it was said that 2008 was the Web To Print drupa.

Perhaps this was not noticed enough at the time, given the interest in machinery.

But at Northprint there is no Heidelberg.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Could there be a Total Print Expo without Heidelberg?

An interesting interview in Printweek included (content quoted in full for purposes of review and comment)

Daniel Danielli, Editor, Printweek - On a different topic, Heidelberg UK is not exhibiting at Northprint and you didn’t exhibit at Grafitalia – have you reviewed your exhibitions strategy?

J├╝rgen Rautert, Heidelberg Sales - Yes. To put it bluntly, I hate the amount of money we have been spending at exhibitions, it is too much. Drupa is something very special, so it’s hard to reduce our spend there, but we have drastically cut back on shows in the US and we will reduce at Ipex, but we will be there. We will reduce the number of minor shows we attend around the world, as we would rather use our showrooms to demonstrate our products. I don’t think it’s fair any more to spend the kind of money we were spending 10 years ago, because in the end the customer pays. It is the same for exhibitions as it is in every other field of business – the minor players in the niches will continue and a few of the bigger ones will continue, but the medium-sized fairs will disappear from the industry. That’s my prediction.

So if Heidelberg is not at Northprint, will they be at Total Print Expo in October? This is not supposed to be "Southprint" but a continuation of Digital Print World with added litho or whatever meets the requirement. In 2008 Heidelberg showed how Anicolor coped with short runs. I thought this was exactly what a trade show is supposed to be about. Nearby Fuji showed a video about inkjet. Whatever run length you had in mind the Heidelberg stand showed actual production. See my story for OhmyNews. (The editors switched the headline to e-books, I thought the Heidelberg arrival at a digital show was the main news.)

Unless they see Total Print World as a niche show they may value, it will probably revert back to appearing to be a digital show. So what would that mean? It could mean that this was a show about "short runs" and only digital is still worth promoting. I used to think that Heidelberg would continue to attend as the comparison with inkjet would make more sense. the kit announced at drupa is expected to be better known later this year and leading up to IPEX 2010. What is a "short run"? 2,000 would cover quite a lot of print. People I spoke to in 2008 could not make much sense of the Heidelberg claims that Anicolor was suitable for runs less than 50. Just my impression, this is just a blog. But in future the case for litho comparisons will be more compelling as a topic.

Debate will wait for IPEX or even drupa but things change meanwhile. The London Bookfair will include a digital area with a stand for Easypress Technologies. The current interest is in ePUB but the Atomik Dynamic Publisher also supplies print ready PDF. So this relates to the drupa Innovation Parc and web-to-print. Life would be easier if the bookfair used all of the upstairs at Earl's Court and left some space in Earl's Court 2 for a print show such as Total Print Expo. The software companies could all be upstairs whatever they suggested as output. A major gain could be that the London College of Communications Futures Conference would still be upstairs but with a direct link to Total Print Expo. The arrangement where you have to walk round the whole building to find the stairs makes no sense at all. Easy to imagine on a blog. Expect more travel in time and space.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This blog will continue as IPEX 2002 even though 2010 is not far away. It is mostly about the UK, including the world of books and newspapers. The drupa2008 blog is more about global technology developments. This may turn out to be confusing but I have decided to avoid starting another blog when possible. More cross reference may help. There may be shifting opinions and quite a lot off topic, but coherence may appear in a later version.

This is a blog so it seems ok to borrow material from other sources and then add a comment. This week in Printweek Andrew Tribute has suggested that print companies may switch to Open Source Software and avoid the upgrade costs from Adobe and Microsoft. He mentions Scribus, as well as Xclamation and Passeportout. It is a significant event that Printweek can publish such an opinion. Perhaps Adobe is not seen as being central to the print industry as was once the case. I cannot find a stand booked at IPEX for example. Since buying Macromedia the promotion energy has been around Flash, what I call Adobe (FLSH). this move away from Adobe Classic could suggest that the products around Postscript and PDF are becoming commoditised or easily replicated. So Andrew Tribute is probably right to claim that most of page layout and PDF workflow could be managed with Open Source Software.

However, what I also think is that there is an implication for publishing that may be less comforting for the printing industry. Andrew Tribute wrote for WhatTheyThink in November 2008 about the E-Reader such as from Amazon or Sony - "I’m afraid at this time I am hardly impressed with these e-readers. I think the success they are having is more for the computer geek area where people want the latest technology." A PDF is available from Attributes download page. The Sony Reader has support for the ePUB format, also supported by many publishers and the Adobe Digital Editions Reader. A surprising development has been the scale of downloads of the Stanza Reader for i-Phone and i-Pod, much larger numbers than sales of the Kindle. So the ePUB format is already easy to access for a fairly large audience. It is based on open standards, starting with XHTML. Andrew Tribute observes that "Today there is awide availability of expert low-cost programmers who have skills to customise OSS and build it into an integrated network. (By the way, "low-cost" programmers relates to the total cost of the project compared to some license fees, open source supporters do charge a reasonable rate for a day's work) Main point, starting with an Open Document in Open Office, a print ready PDF is not the only option.

I think the print industry should also be more public in support for the Job Definition Format (JDF) another XML-friendly set of standards. Sean Smyth earlier reported in Printweek on Hunkeler Innovation that "I did not hear the word JDF in two days". JDF is not too technical to explain in general terms. Perhaps "web-to-print" is more exciting and the JDF version can come later in the flow. But there are going to be some fast publishing methods online. Print needs a workflow that compares, and ways to present it.