7 Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011

We recently discovered a blog that contains tons of information about content marketing. What first caught our attention was a post published on August 11, 2010 entitled “7 Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011”. This article disputes the argument that print is dying a slow painful death, and instead highlights print’s selling points for the corporate marketer. See the first three points below and take a look at Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Blog here to see the rest.

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“You’ll find no greater supporter of online content marketing than me, but marketers and agencies are talking up print for 2011. Yes, in the era of iPads and Apps, there is still a role for print.

Jeff Jarvis recently wrote about how media companies need to ignore print.

“The physical costs of production and distribution are killing. The marketing cost of subscriber acquisition and churn are hellish.”

He’s right.  And if you are a media company that relies on most of your revenue for print, you need to post Jeff’s article on your forehead.

But if you are a corporate marketer, there is an opportunity here. Here’s why:

1. Getting Attention: Have you noticed how many fewer magazines and print newsletters you are getting in the mail these days? I don’t know about you, but I definitely pay more attention to my print mail.  There’s just less mail, so more attention is paid to each piece. Opportunity? Less traditional publishers are printing magazines today, which leaves opportunities for content marketers.

2. The Focus on Customer Retention: In a soon-to-be-released research study conducted by Junta42 and MarketingProfs, customer retention was the most important goal for marketers when it came to content marketing outside of basic brand awareness.  Historically, the reason why custom print magazines and newsletters were developed by brands was for customer retention purposes.  We have a winner!

3. No Audience Development Costs: Publishers expend huge amounts of time and money qualifying subscribers to send out their magazines. Many times, publishers need to invest multiple dollars per subscriber per year for auditing purposes (They send direct mail, they call, they call again so that the magazine can say they that their subscribers have requested the magazine. This is true for controlled (free) trade magazines).  

So, let’s say, a publisher’s cost per subscriber per year is $2 and their distribution is one hundred thousand.  That’s $200,000 per year for audience development.  

That’s a cost that marketers don’t have to worry about.  If marketers want to distribute a magazine to their customers, they just use their customer mailing list. That’s a big advantage…”

Read the remaining reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011.

Making the Case for Printed Books

About a week ago we received our Graphic Arts Association e-Update and a specific article caught our eye. It alerted recipients to an article printed in the Washington Post entitled “iPads and Kindles are Better For The Environment Than Books”. Written by Brain Palmer, the article glorifies e-books, essentially saying that in comparison to print, e-readers are the “greener” option. Naturally this struck a chord with the Printing Industry of America’s CEO Mike Makin and he wrote a response letter making the case for print. We’ve posted the letter in its entirety below. Please, read and more importantly, share this article with as many people as possible to further solidify the notion that Print is GOOD!

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From the Office of the President and CEO

October 8, 2010
Mr. Fred Hiatt
Editorial Page Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW Washington, DC 20071

Dear Mr. Hiatt:

This letter is in response to the 8/24/10 article “iPads and Kindles are better for the environment than books” by Mr. Brain Palmer which appeared in The Green Lantern column of The Washington Post. Unfortunately, the article did not present a full and complete representation of the comparison between printed books and e-readers and their impact on the environment. Therefore, Printing Industries of America would like to provide information on several areas of environmental impact of e-readers and books that were not included in the article and if considered, would not support Mr. Palmer’s conclusion.

The conclusions drawn by Mr. Palmer in regards to the environmental impact of e-readers and printed books are based on a limited number of attributes and fail to consider the complete life cycle of the two products. The only way to accurately compare the environmental impact of a product is to evaluate its entire lifecycle which includes raw material procurement, transportation, production process, product use, and final disposition. This article explores only some of the production aspects of each product and falls short of what would be considered an objective review of the facts.

Most concerning is the absence of a discussion about several critical aspects, specifically the issue of raw material sourcing, product use, and end of life implications. In addition, the assumptions made about ink production are not accurate. Regarding raw material sourcing, books are made primarily from paper, a completely renewable resource. North American forests are well managed and continue to increase in both land area and volume of timber grown.i E-readers, on the other hand, are made primarily from plastics derived from fossil fuels, and metals and minerals mined from the earth, which are not renewable.

The article compares the carbon footprint of producing e-readers and books, but misses one of the most critical components of any carbon footprint, the source of carbon emissions from the energy required to manufacture and use the product. A significant portion of the energy required to manufacture paper is renewable. In 2008, members of the American Forest and Paper Association derived 65% of the energy used at pulp and paper mills from renewable sources.(ii)  E-readers are manufactured primarily in Asia, where the most prevalent source of electricity is coal, a nonrenewable resource.

Paper based books require no energy to use. E-readers use batteries that must be charged with electricity on a frequent basis and the infrastructure that allows for the origination, storage, and dissemination of electronic data represented 1.5 percent of all electricity consumed in the United States in 2000.(iii) In 2009, nearly 70 percent of electricity in the United States, used both to charge e-readers and power electronic data centers, was generated from fossil fuels, which are not renewable.(iv)

The article also claims that ink production for books has a worse effect on the environment than production of e-readers. The author provides no references or meaningful support for this statement. Several lifecycle assessment studies of printed products indicate that paper represents the majority of the overall environmental impact of printed matter. Ink represents less than five percent of the overall impact of a printed product.v An article which compares the impact of e-readers and books found that the health effects of producing an e-reader (mainly due to air pollution) is 70 times that of producing a book.(vi)

Lastly, the article does not consider the end of life implications for each product. Books and e-readers have very different environmental impacts when it comes to end of life. First, paper based books can be easily recycled. As of 2008, American’s recycled 55.5 percent of all waste paper generated.vii The American Forest and Paper Association recently reported that in 2009, 63.4 percent of all waste paper available was collected for recycling.(viii)

Of the 2.76 million tons of electronic waste collected in 2008, only 13.6 percent was recovered for recycling.7 The remaining 2.38 million tons were discarded primarily in landfills, where improper management leads to releases of the heavy metals and other toxic chemicals contained in electronics, or shipped overseas. According to the Basal Action Network, 50-80 percent of electronics that are collected for “recycling” in America, are shipped overseas where they are often unsafely dismantled which includes the practice of burning the electronic devices to recover the exposed metals.ix Such practices often involve children who are exposed to the extremely toxic smoke and fumes and the residues also contaminate the air, soil, and groundwater.

Printing Industries of America continues to work with its members and the industry as a whole to foster an understanding of the environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved through the use of sustainable printing practices. Printing Industries of America is proud to be a founding organization of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (UUwww.sgppartnership.org), a program designed to recognize printers that are superior environmental performers. Printing Industries of America encourages The Washington Post to continue its focus and recognition of sustainable practices while providing objective and comprehensive reviews.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me at 412-259-1777 or mmakin@printing.org.

Michael Makin
President and CEO Printing Industries of America 

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i Smith, W. Brad, Miles, Patrick D. Perry, Charles H. Pugh, Scott A. Forest Resources of the United States, 2007. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-78. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office, 2009.
ii AF&PA, Sustainability Report, 2010. http://www.paperspecspro.com/paperspecs/papertalks/images_081810/Sustainability.pdf
iii U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fact Sheet on National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program, March 19, 2008.
iv U.S. Energy Information Administration, Net Generation by Energy Source: Total (All Sectors), September 10, 2010. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html
v Nichols-Dobson, Phillipa. LCA applied to the Printing Industry. Pira International, September 8, 1997
vi Goleman, Daniel and Gregory Norris. How Green is My iPad? The New York Times, April 4, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/04/opinion/04opchart.html
vii U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States Detailed Tables and Figures for 2008. November, 2009. http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008data.pdf
viii AF&PA News Release. AF&PA announces increase in paper recovery, meets goal ahead of schedule. March 22, 2010. http://paperrecycles.org/news/press_releases/2009_recovery_stats_released.html
ixPuckett, Jim, et al. Exporting Harm. February 25, 2002. http://www.ban.org/E-Waste/technotrashfinalcomp.pdf.

Do you know the facts?

The Millcraft Group (Cleveland, OH) created an educational website devoted to raising awareness about the benefits of print, for both the environment and business. As we all know, there are many misconceptions and falsities circulating about the effectiveness and sustainability of print and this website does a great job of communicating the facts. See some excerpts below.

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Print Pays Off

Print drives higher ROI

Direct mail gives advertisers a 13-1 return (DMA)

Eight out of 10 households (79%) say they either read or scan the advertising mail sent to their homes

51% of consumers say traditional mail is their preferred method of contact (CMO Council)

Response rate for email marketing has fallen by 57% since 2004, but response rate from direct mail has risen 14% (IP)

Print is Sustainable

For every tree harvested in the U.S., three trees are planted (source AF&PA)

Paper is one of the most recycled products used in the U.S.

Total recovery rate for all paper in US was more than 63% in 2009, 340 pounds per capita.

Paper made from 30% PCW used 10% less energy to make, produces 25% less waste water and 6% less greenhouse gas emissions. Each ton conserves about 15 trees. (Environmental Defense Paper Calculator)

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Find more facts and information about how Print is Good at http://doyouknowthefacts.com/