Category Archives: printing & publishing

Kodak Prosper S10 inkjet print heads

How the mighty fall…?

It’s remarkable that reports in the general media — including the numerous stories putting a gratuitous, how-the-mighty-have-fallen spin on the travails of Kodak — have had almost nothing to say about the condition or even the existence of its graphic communications product lines.
Patrick Henry, WhatTheyThink, January 20, 2012.

Oh yes, Kodak missed the opportunity to prosper from their innovations in digital imaging and the digital camera. So how come they didn’t see what was coming? I guess they were just too stuck in their old business model of making film that had made them fortunes over decades. When you’re feeling comfortable with the old and the old still brings in some money, it seems impossible to look up and get a grasp of the long view. At least not without taking help from a outsider that isn’t trapped in the present.

Another similar example is Nokia, who were so certain on their own technology and design that they ignored the iPhone as just a geeky gadget with no commercial potential. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention met a similar reaction from a record company director – no commercial potential. The favorite act of that record company later ended up doing background singing for the Mothers!

In their time, Kodak used some of their money to become the main supporter of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the RIT School of Print Media. This might have been a unplanned foresight of their more recent focus on digital production printing systems. Rumors say that Kodak will launch a newspaper version of the Prosper inkjet press that will run at 300 meters/min and will be able to print the impressive equivalent of 3,098 64-page tabloid newspaper/hour. Ironically, this may be another mistake, putting their hope to another industry that is reluctant to understanding the need for change. Most newspaper companies just don’t get it! It seems however like Kodak is making moves towards other business areas within printing and publishing, like magazines.

You can read more about Kodak’s reorganization on the web. Under the heading Leadership Insights you can find two informative videos.

  • Chairman & CEO Antonio Perez discusses Kodak’s restructuring
  • President & COO Philip Faraci answers top questions on customers’ minds
Reading on the beach

iPad and Kindle Reading Speeds

In one of his WhatTheyThink Videos, Frank Romano alerted me on an interesting study on the usability of eBooks. The original article was from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, July 2, 2010.  It was a fairly small study comprising only 24 people. Each person was tried on four reading conditions: a printed book, a PC, an iPad, and a Kindle 2.

The text was a short story by Ernest Hemingway, which according to Frank is easy to read, because it’s all simple sentences, virtually no semicolons, no em-dashes, it is basic writing.  The result was that reading the e-book version was slightly slower than reading the print. Both the iPad and the Kindle rated as high in terms of satisfaction as the printed book.  But the test persons were not happy with the PC — reading a PC felt like being at work.  The conclusion is that well-designed eBook readers provide as good a reading environment as the printed book. With the strong development of tablets, there is obviously a strong future for eBooks. This future is maybe already here, since Amazon recently reported that Kindle books are outselling printed books.

The printed book may still be preferred on the beach

Print is Eternal – or…

The following is the first few lines in a hilarious discussion between more or less extinct media types.

Moderator: Welcome to Obsolete Anonymous! I’ve gathered you all here to welcome our latest member, the Print Industry.
Print Industry: Hello, everyone. But there’s been a mistake. I don’t belong here.
(chuckles all around)
Print Industry: I’m serious. I’m not obsolete. I’m relevant. Print books have been around for hundreds of years. They’re never going to be replaced.
VHS Tapes: Yeah, we all thought like that once.
LP Records: It’s called denial. It’s tough to deal with at first.

You can read the full text at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Thanks to Patrick Henry at the Print CEO blog for the alert.

Failing algorithm

Amazon has prospered from their amazing algorithms that keep track of customer preferences. This way, they have been able to recommend books based on earlier buys and what other buyers of the same books have bought.
But today, I received a recommendation to buy two books that I already have bought from Amazon. It happens that I forget what I have bought – and even have read – but that can’t be part of Amazon’s algorithms – or…?

No newspapers on Amazon Kindle?

Rupert Murdoch has indicated Newscorp will probably not publish with the Amazon Kindle device in the future. Amazon keeping what is thought to be 70% of the revenue is not a fair deal to him. The same attitude seems to hold for Australian Fairfax Media, who obviously is interested in the potential of Apple’s iTunes and iPhone. So where is the mobile news going?

Old media is dying…

The classic oldtimer magazine Reader’s Digest is going bankrupt. Or maybe it is more correct to say that the Reader’s Digest Association is trying to survive after reaching an agreement with its creditors to reduce debt. So the magazine will maybe survive under bankruptcy protection. My father used to read the Swedish version of Reader’s Digest, and occassionally I spotted books from Reader’s Digest with other people in his generation. But this was long ago – who is actually reading their publications today?
Read more at Folio Magazine.

Victory of “Dead-Tree” Communication

According to a recent report in Knowledge@Wharton, marketing in print is so much more effective than in digital media. Actually, it is the print that drives the traffic to the web sites! The findings were supported by several comments to the article.

The report was also referred to in the Print CEO Blog, again with a supportive comment about the positive effect of combining blogging and print advertising.

Digital media are overrated!

An IT researcher at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) told me that the digital media as web and e-mail are overrated. Paper and print ar often superior. But we are lacking (simple) tools to create printed products (user-generated print media). Unfortunately, there is no actor that takes this really seriously. The digital media industry just don’t get it with paper media. The paper industry has as always its focus on the large paper mills, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes that are “allocated” to different markets. The graphic industry is fully occupied with becoming certified printers according to the ISO 12647 standard.

Who will take the first step?

Read Risto Sarvas post here:
The industry must show both consumers and businesses that paper is often far superior to digital alternatives. Finally, the industry must accept new design and business perspectives such as human-centric design and user-generated content.