American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.

What a year it was

Dec 1, 2010 12:00 AM

         Subscribe in NewsGator Online   Subscribe in Bloglines

What were some of the key trends of 2010? Well, leggings made an unfortunate comeback. There's even something called “jeggings” an unfortunate combination of jeans and leggings best left to middle school girls.

Men and women, generally on the younger side, took to wearing snap brim hats not seen since the Eisenhower administration. (Unless you are Bear Bryant, Frank Sinatra or Karl Malden, it's a difficult look to pull off.)

On the optical front, there seems to be a craze for eyeglasses that could do double duty as protective gear for arc welders. I will stick to my conservative specs. You know, the ones with the massive lenses produced under the authority of the local Coca-Cola Bottlers Assn.

Gee whiz: the new 3G phones

QR Codes proliferated. (I have yet to actually witness a shopper using one, however.) Even people who hate using cell phones upgraded from Alexander Graham Bell basic devices to slick James T. Kirk models.

Admit it — you've probably talked about 3G phones without really knowing what that meant. (Courtesy of Wikipedia: Intl. Mobile Telecommunications — 2000, better known as 3G or 3rd Generation, is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunications services fulfilling specifications by the Intl. Telecommunication Union. Application services include wide-area wireless voice telephone, mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV. A 3G system must allow simultaneous use of speech and data services.)

This was the year Apple's iPad, introduced a few years ago, entered the general consciousness. How many times have you been in some public space and seen some hipster casually take out an iPad and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I had one of those.”

Social media shows no sign of slowing down. We are all still figuring out how to incorporate these tools. Are printers making money via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn activities? Not from what my observations show. Is it an easy way to stay connected with clients and colleagues? Yes, especially as we gain greater abilities to separate the wheat from the social media chaff.

While many people perceive LinkedIn as a job hunter's paradise, in recent months some intriguing industry groups have formed including “E-books, Readers, Digital Books and Digital Content Publishing.”

Founded by Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah, the group boasts an astonishing 10,000 members from around the world. Raccah recently shared an article she wrote for “RWR: Romance Writers Report,” the official publication of the Romance Writers of America.

“I've been a book publisher for 23 years and today I believe we are at the transformation of the book,” writes Raccah. “You may call it the tipping point or the point of no return but whatever you call it, this is that moment in the history of the book.”

Raccah has many interesting observations about workflow issues. “I have yet to meet the e-book customer who's never purchased a bad or at least slightly wonky e-book,” she reports. “Poor page flow…new typos that weren't in the printed book…dashes and apostrophes that now resemble weird Cyrillic symbols. Regrettably, I'm only scratching the surface of the problems that occur. And that's all assuming you had a good description and cover image to know what book you were buying in the first place. Were the e-book free, these might be problems you'd accept. But here's the thing — you paid for it, why should you accept less than you'd get in a printed version?”

Some aren't using the e-reader function

Interestingly, Simba Information, publisher of the “Book Publishing Report” newsletter, estimates about 35% of iPad owners haven't used the devices to read e-books. (The estimate is based on the preliminary findings from a nationwide survey of over 1,800 respondents, who were selected on a nationally representative basis.)

“The fact that over a million iPad buyers haven't used the gadget for e-books shows that not all new gadgets equate to a new e-reader,” says Michael Norris, senior trade book analyst at Simba Information. “Research has already shown us that with multi-use devices, reading falls down on the list of things to do.”

Norris added that the U.S. market probably can support a limited number of e-book reading devices “Since so many consumers only buy a small number of books in a given year and the book buying public isn't turning toward e-books as rapidly as most think.”

You can follow us on Twitter at as well as on my new KOB on Commercial Printing at