paper supply

Paper Demand Creates A Need to Strategize

Paper and packaging manufacturing are feeling the squeeze as demand for printed goods continues to outpace the supply of paper. It’s a sign that industries are recovering from the pandemic, but what does it mean for consumers? Consolidated Press is ahead of the curve with a healthy supply of materials in stock, and we want to share just a few tips and tricks that will come in handy for our clients who purchase printed goods. Our goal is to help you save time, money and more than a few headaches in the future.  

Plan Ahead 

Preschedule the print jobs you know are on the horizon, particularly as we enter the crucial holiday catalog season. If you can provide your print service provider with estimates of the number of projects, materials needed, and page counts, they can, in turn, place supply orders now for paper goods to have in stock at a later date.  

What’s Happening 

There are critical shortages in the supply chain required for the manufacturing of paper. International imports of paper are at a lower volume than normal forcing domestic mills to try to pick up the slack. COVID-19 protocols and short-staffing are also causing slowdowns in production cycles and port operations across the globe. This perfect storm of circumstances leaves inventory low for many paper suppliers. It also means that paper prices are increasing.  

How We Can Help 

We constantly manage our customer expectations and make every effort to not disappoint anyone or delay work unnecessarily because of supply shortages.  

  • Work with your sales rep to identify projects well in advance 
  • Be creative about the size, shape, or type of paper you’re using for your printed piece to help with both supply and costs 
  • Consolidate projects into one print run to save time, money and paper 
  • Target or segment your audience for greater impact at a reduced volume 
  • Look at other printing options like roll-to-sheet versus sheetfed 

The road to economic recovery will have a few speed bumps along the way, but we’ll get through this together. Ultimately, the temporary supply shortages are a sign that more and more companies are investing in the future of commerce, and that’s a win for all of us. Know that we have your back and, when in doubt, pick up the phone to discuss your options for print success with Consolidated Press 

 

 

Printed Books Trend Upward in Sales Post-Pandemic

Hot off the presses: as we head into the post-pandemic era, print book publishing is picking up where it left off — skyrocketing in sales and popularity. As print books trend upward in sales post-pandemic, publishers need printers to rely on for speed and flexibility. 

Print is on Trend

The New York Times wrote, “Sales of digital books fell 3.6 percent to $1.02 billion in 2018, a third straight decline, while hardback sales rose 6.9 percent to $3.06 billion and paperback sales 1.1 percent to $2.67 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers.”

In January 2020, The Association of American Publishers reported that total book sales were $12.57 billion year-to-date in 2019. The growth was an increase of 3.6% over the previous year. Printed books continued to dominate the consumer publications category, accounting for $751.0 million, or 80% of the category’s $938.7 million in revenue. Paperback books saw the most growth, once again, climbing 11.0%. Professional publishing also jumped.

While book sales initially dropped off in early 2020, they began to tick upward in the spring and ended the year strong with print sales rising 8.2% over 2019, the most significant annual increase since 2005, and the print total of 751 million units sold was the highest since 2009. An increase in online sales drove numbers up, and online sales are projected to continue strong through 2021.

Printed Pages Produce Better Comprehension

Several recent studies have reviewed digital books and education materials vs. paper. According to the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit newsroom focused on education that examined these studies, reading on paper trumps reading on screens regarding comprehension and student preference.

The Right Partner Can Make the Difference

Let’s get your titles flying off the shelf,  What does all this mean for today’s book publishers and the way they work with printers? Here are the key takeaways:

The era of printed books is not over. It’s on the uprise, so finding a reputable, flexible, high-capacity printer like Consolidated Press to keep up with publishing demands is crucial.

Time and again, learning and comprehension are reported to be better on paper than with digital for a variety of reasons, which research is still uncovering. In the meantime, book publishers can rely on a powerhouse printer like Consolidated Press to increase efficiency and cost competitiveness to meet the demand for more printed books.

Independent bookstores are increasing their margins with gifts, consumables, events, and more. As a result, publishers don’t need to slash prices to be competitive. The boutique environment is also an incentive to experiment with bolder designs and visual impact to stand out on a shelf.

Sales of e-books are down and audiobooks are up. E-books compete primarily with paper books; audiobooks compete with music, podcasts, radio, and other paid audio media. Some publishers have adopted a digital-first strategy and need a printer that can nimbly print books on demand.

Paperback books continue to see explosive growth. You can depend on CP’s equipment to precisely print crucial information and images, perfect binding each piece with optical cameras confirming quality and placement. We ship straight from our warehouse, offering the most accurate addressing and cost-effective mailing available.

Whether on-demand or on a schedule, textbook or trade paperback, CP can meet today’s book printing market demands and exceed publisher expectations for quality, speed, value, and flexibility every time.

Consolidated Press is one for the books. Call or click today to start our valuable partnership in printing.

 

Use These Best Practices for your Next Direct Mail Campaign

(Spoiler alert: Hiring an expert in printing and mailing covers ALL the bases!)

Not only is direct mail a great way to engage with your customers, but it also offers a powerful return on investment. Direct mail provides measurable results that generate leads, especially when using branded visuals, a solid call to action, and integration with your digital marketing campaign elements. Recent statistics reinforce the high impact advantages when communicating with direct mail compared to email and other electronic solicitations.

Did you know?

As consumers begin to flood the marketplace again, now is the time to put your brand messaging where it makes the most impact — right on their doorstep. But time is money, and the use of best practices for printing and mailing ensures a powerfully effective campaign that fits your budget.

Consider these pathways to success:

Hire an Expert

Direct mail is a complex endeavor. Between branding, designing, copywriting, printing, data management, versioning, sorting, scheduling, storing, mailing, returns, and measuring success, you have a full-time job on your hands with a direct mail campaign. A full-service printer with a consultative approach like Consolidated Press can walk you through each and every step and then replicate it for the next mailing, ensuring brand standards and clean lists.

Weigh Less, Pay Less

Paper stocks, embellishments, special coatings, coupons, return mailers, and other specialty items can add up, and mailing with efficiency means traveling light. But some projects call for high-end stock, unique finishes, and stand-out enhancements. Ask your expert to show you what items you need to maximize your investment and to help you choose the right paper and finishes for your project.

Panels, Tabs, and Size Restrictions, Oh My!

Direct mail through the United States Postal Service is a tricky business — and a highly regulated one. Your mailer needs to be the appropriate size and weight, a specific number of panels and tabbed or glued to meet USPS regulations. The specifications are vast. If you don’t believe us, look here to dive into the seemingly endless details of mailing. Never mind, don’t do that. Consolidated Press has a massive mailing program all designed to seamlessly and painlessly work within the postal system.

Have Some Class

The USPS delivers mail at several rates or classes, determined by the client’s needs and purpose of the mailing. Most often, you’ll be using USPS Marketing Mail, which, for beginning mailers, is often the best choice because postage prices are very low. According to the agency, mailers use USPS Marketing Mail to send:

  • Printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising
  • Newsletters, bulletins, and catalogs
  • Small parcels

All USPS Marketing Mail prices are bulk prices, and each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. There is no single-piece USPS Marketing Mail postage. In USPS Marketing Mail, there are prices for letters, flats/large envelopes, parcels, marketing parcels, and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels. There’s more where that came from, but you don’t need to get into the weeds — you need to ask your expert. 

Consolidated Press, by the way, knows all this stuff and more. 

When you need expert advice on printing and mailing with a consultative approach to your project, call or click Consolidated Press to determine how they can put the pieces into place.

 

Embellished Direct Mail Discounts with USPS

Take advantage of direct mail with CP’s specialty print capabilities

Direct mail is an effective marketing strategy—year after year, the statistics tell the tale. A personal, targeted approach integrated with online purchasing and engagement is irresistible to many consumers.

At the same time, the costs of mailing and paper continue to rise, and organizations need the return on their marketing investments to be above average and consistent. Fortunately, the United States Postal Service has our backs. 

The USPS Mailing Promotions and Incentive Programs are designed to help marketers, printers, and mailers increase customer engagement and response rates with their mail pieces. Through July 31, the USPS will be offering 2% off eligible postage on mail pieces that encourage sensory engagement. The Tactile, Sensory & Interactive (TSI) Promotion leverages the technological advances the print industry has been steadily innovating.

From the USPS TSI Promotions Requirements and registration site:

The print industry has been actively innovative not only in print production equipment but the fundamental elements of the mail itself through new developments in papers/stocks, substrates, finishing techniques, and inks. These elements can be incorporated to engage a multi-sensory experience through special visual effects, sound, scent, texture/tactile treatments, and even taste! In addition, interactive mailpiece features (such as pop-ups, infinite folds, or other dimensional treatments) can also help drive a marketer’s customer’s engagement.

Neuroscience and neuromarketing research supports the potentially significant impact on brand recognition and message recall when marketing materials engage tactile experiences and/or senses. By leveraging the physical aspects of the mailpiece as well as the advances in print technology, marketers can enhance how their consumers interact and engage with mail

New technology and print techniques can enhance the traditional benefits of a physical mail piece and give higher response rates and an increase in overall return on investment. Three categories are featured in this promotion:

  • Specialty Inks
  • Specialty Paper
  • Interactive elements

Here is where Consolidated Press can step in with its vast capabilities in soft-touch, hybrid UV printing, vibrant inks, and specialty paper. CP is a leader in stunning yet economical direct mail from magazines to catalogs, directories, newsletters, promotional mail. We also are seasoned mailing experts. In addition to working with you to capitalize on USPS promotions running throughout 2021, we can analyze your files and provide postal logistics planning and strategy, often leading to bulk discounts and increasing your crucial marketing ROI.

Contact us today to start your tactile, sensory, or interactive direct mail campaign. We would love to put your project first.

 

Catalog Magazine

Catalogs are a Powerful Investment in the Marketing Mix

A great printer increases the return on that investment

It’s fun to get mail, and studies show consumers simply love it. Yet for a business, communication needs to be purposeful and powerful. With every page, there is a new opportunity to create a positive and lasting relationship with consumers that need your products and services. 

Enter the direct mail catalog—a powerful marketing tool that works synergistically with online purchasing, dynamic user experiences, and superior measurables.

Simply put, integrated online and in-hand marketing campaigns add up to much more than the sum of their parts. Beautiful, targeted, interactive catalogs are the beating heart of those campaigns. 

Learn the powerful ways catalogs convert your browsers into buyers, and how Consolidated Press can leverage that spark.

Customers who have a multi-channel relationship with companies buy more — and more often

Multichannel shoppers spend three times more than single-channel shoppers, and more than half of marketers today use three or more channels to promote their brands. Nordstrom reported recently that customers who connect with its brand through multiple channels spend four times as much as those who don’t. And while 95% of marketers know they need a multichannel strategy, most do not have one. Targeted catalogs offer that extra channel for buyer connection.

Customers are 46% more likely to buy from a company they are familiar with

Seasonal mailings keep that relationship up and offer enticing solutions and ideas just as consumer interest is peaking. (Think seed catalogs arriving in February just as the ice begins to thaw. So exciting!) But it’s important to be very targeted and personalized with your message in those seasonal campaigns because your direct mail is likely to arrive in the same week or even on the same day as your competitors. If you speak to those consumers directly while pushing them to your website or other online sales channel, they will have your company at top of mind.

Direct mail response rates are excellent and on the rise

Response rates to direct mail have increased dramatically in recent years, both to house lists and to prospects. More than half of catalogs are reported to be read or set aside to read later, an astonishing number compared to email marketing. Recent studies found that direct mail averaged a 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. According to direct mail industry trends, a whopping 90.9% of merchants still use catalogs as a primary marketing tool, and 44.4% report their catalogs’ circulation grew year over year. 

The return on investment for catalogs is high, but smart businesses still want to keep that investment strategically budgeted and targeted.

This is where Consolidated Press comes in

A powerhouse printer like Consolidated Press can keep costs down through scale and technology. To achieve that sought-after ROI, catalog and direct mail printers need to be lean, agile, and consistent, reducing waste and saving time. With our web, sheetfed and digital presses, your project will always be on the most efficient equipment for the job. CP’s Quality Assurance process guarantees that crisp imagery and brand colors will be perfectly matched in each new publication printed, ensuring clients are always presenting a consistent brand to their customers.

Tip: Plan and design several seasons’ worth of catalogs at once

Increase brand familiarity and ensure your catalogs reach your buyers and prospective buyers just when they are ready to order!

21st-century printers help clients target their customers through clean data, versioned copy, and multi-channel connections. Consolidated Press can easily put the most persuasive message in front of stakeholders on the house list or tweak it for high-value prospective customers. If our clients have data on their customers, we can use it to the fullest extent during the printing, mailing, and metrics tracking processes. We can help you strategically and seamlessly connect your paper catalog with your digital point of sale using dynamic technologies and tracking codes.

Tip: Come to us early in your process, and we can make sure your data is clean and ready to target buyers and users

Remember: the better the data, the broader the reach!

Consolidated Press employs a consultative approach with our clients to achieve stand-out publications that will be read right away. We can walk you through the benefits of various paper stock and finishes to both save mailing costs and create an enticing user experience. We have the capability to print unique sizes and shapes, creating a coffee-table piece that will draw eyes and hands. Consolidated Press utilizes the strength of its front-end software to manage color definitions on the press, resulting in consistent quality throughout a project’s run, and on future runs.

Tip: Mailing costs cut into profits

Work with one of our consultants to achieve that sweet spot of eye-catching innovative paper that is low weight and highly printable!

Whatever your products or services, a series of beautiful, well-targeted catalogs can increase user engagement, resulting in higher sales and revenue. Call or click to find how Consolidated Press can put the pieces into place.

We Are Here For You.

During these uncertain times we want to reach out and ensure you we’re here for the long haul. We are continually working to make sure we can safely and reliably continue to support your business tomorrow as we have up until now. Here are steps in place today to address this evolving situation:

CP Business Continuity Plan

The safety of our employees, clients, suppliers and all of our families remain of critical importance to us. At Consolidated Press we are mobilizing our team and pulling together the expertise needed to provide guidance during times like these. This includes the following:

• Disaster risk assessment and contingency planning tools.

• Communicating and educating all employees about contagious diseases by having department meetings, posting notices and explaining our facility’s guidelines and plans.

• Our management teams have regularly scheduled meetings to refine our production plan should we need to react to production that is more limited.

• Supply chain continuity: plans and communications are in place with our suppliers (i.e. paper merchants, buyout partners, freight carriers, USPS and equipment servicers).

• We are additionally planning, scheduling and staffing for cases where we may see higher than usual absenteeism as employees need to care for children that may be out of school due to school closures, or employees need to care for impacted family members.

In addition, we have taken the following immediate steps in each facility to prevent the spread of influenza and create a healthy environment to minimize the spread of COVID-19:

• We comply with ever-expanding social distancing requirements.

• Updated Consolidated Press visitor policy: we are prohibiting all “non-essential” visitors from entering our facilities. Essential visitors are those required to keep us operational, such as equipment maintenance/repair and deliveries/pick-ups.

• Suspend non-essential business travel and conduct meetings virtually whenever possible.

• Purchased additional hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and placed throughout the facilities.

• Added multiple posters throughout the facility to raise awareness of proper hygiene habits.

• Working with our cleaning services, we’ve added additional focus areas in the office, manufacturing and common areas.

We are also encouraging individuals to take the following responsibility for personal health:

• Talk to your doctor about getting the seasonal flu vaccine.

• Stay home if you are sick with a fever in excess of 100°F.

• Take preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs.

• Wash your hands frequently with soap or hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.

• Cover your coughs and sneezes.

• Keep frequently touched common surfaces extra clean such as telephones and computer keyboards.

• Avoid using other employee’s phones, desks, pens, or other tools and equipment.

We will remain in close contact with all of our clients and supply chain vendors and will work through this challenge together. Our common goal is to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for our employees while maintaining the products in print you trust us to produce at Consolidated Press. We are here for you.  

 

The Trust Test: Seven Signs Your Print Partner Brings Integrity and Value

When brokers and printers contract with other printers to bring their projects to fruition, there is a certain amount of trust that must be developed between the two. Sometimes, you have a previous relationship, and you know they’ll bring their A-game to your customers every time, but other times, that trust has to be built on the job. After all, every long term partnership starts with a first impression.

There are ways to tell if your printer partners can be trusted to put your client’s needs first, and consistently produce exceptional work on time and in-budget. The key is to do your homework ahead of time, and then work closely with the printer partner through the process. Watch for these signs you’ve chosen well:

  1. Impeccable reputation in the industry. Find out what others think of the printer you want to work with. Ask about integrity, reliability and quality. Our clients — often printers and brokers — jump at the chance to recommend us.
  2. Longevity. Consolidated Press has been continuously in operation for nearly eight decades in a highly competitive environment. If your printer partner is older than you are, they’re doing something — a lot of things — right.
  3. Collaborative spirit. Print brokers need seamless client-facing integration, from branded proofs to custom packing. Ask the printer to show you how they would communicate with the client on your behalf. Does it meet your standards?
  4. Speed. Let’s face it, your client wants their project yesterday, and every piece of it has to fit in your schedule. At Consolidated Press, our selection of equipment means your project is always on the most efficient press for the job, moving it to completion as quickly as possible.
  5. Quality control. The pieces of a large project need to fall together seamlessly. Mistakes cost time, money and worst of all, they can cost your reputation. CP offers an impeccable, documented, multi-step quality control process.
  6. Versatility. To create an effortless long term partnership, a printer needs to be able to provide multiple services and capabilities. CP offers several digital, sheet and web press options, so a reseller can return again and again with different kinds of projects for multiple clients — and get a top-quality product every time.
  7. Capacity. In our case, bigger is better. We have grown into one of the largest printers in the Pacific Northwest and our new parent company, KP Corp., has expanded and enhanced our capabilities in digital services, fulfillment and mailing.

Only trust the most reliable, ethical and reputable printer partners with your clients. Trust them to us. As you know, the pieces don’t just fall into place. At Consolidated Press, we plan projects with purpose.

Call or click today to start our valuable partnership in print.

Print Resellers Rely on Accurate Quoting and Rigorous Project Mobilization

At Consolidated Press, we call ourselves the printer’s printer. We know the business better than anyone and when a fellow printer or brokerage needs the speed, flexibility and high value of a powerhouse press, we can jump in at a moment’s notice. But our excellent reputation is based on what happens after we jump in.

Print resellers depend on the printers they choose to be accurate, efficient and organized. Process is the number 1 concern, and that means flawless mobilization. Every piece of every job has to flow uninterrupted through the supply chain, enabling each project to be completed on time and within budget.

When a consultant or another print shop is integrating printer partners for a crucial client project, five elements are the key to a champion outcome.

  • An experienced team. Print consultants need expert press people they can walk the walk and talk the talk with. Our estimators and project managers have a wealth of experience and can efficiently  integrate various presses, binding machinery and finishings to hit stakeholder targets.
  • Precise estimating. We harness the power of print with no surprises. Our team looks at each project comprehensively, from choosing materials to scheduling, printing and mailing. We offer value and speed for every job, and that means setting accurate expectations from the get-go.
  • Ironclad project mobilization. When a project comes through our door, it has our full attention until we hand it over to a satisfied client. We offer a streamlined manufacturing process, relying on our vast in-house capabilities, including multiple and varied  presses, in-house perfect binding, variable printing, and cost effective mailing and shipping. We don’t consider a project done until you do.
  • Efficiency. Because brokered jobs can be so complex, resellers need printer partners to be lean and agile, reducing waste and saving time. With our web, sheetfed and digital presses, your project will always be on the most efficient equipment for the job. We can quickly change course and bring in partners of our own when needed.
  • Collaborative spirit. Print brokers need seamless client-facing integration, from branded proofs to custom packing for final destination. A vital printer partner knows when to step out of the spotlight. We may be the job’s engine, but we don’t need to be the star of the show.

We proudly print for printers, and they rely on Consolidated Press to jump in when they need a partner who can offer accurate estimating, airtight project management, leading to a professional product their clients are proud of, too.

As you know, the pieces don’t just fall into place. At Consolidated Press, we plan projects with purpose.

Call or click today to start our valuable partnership in printing.

Six Powerful Ways to Meet the Specialized Needs of Print Resellers

Print resellers offer a unique industry service, bidding and managing the most complex printing projects. Brokered print jobs are often a series of distinct tasks that fit together in a jigsaw puzzle of scheduling, skills-matching, leading edge equipment, reliable relationships and impeccable reputation.

When print brokers are choosing vendors for their clients, they are looking for accurate estimating and bulletproof project management. There is just no room for error in this kind of elaborate work –each printer a broker contracts with must be completely reliable, delivering cost-effective, quality work every single time.

These six components are critical to success:

  • Speed. We printers need to do our job twice as fast. Estimating, production — proofing, printing, binding — and invoicing need to stay on schedule and ahead of the client’s needs.
  • Competitive pricing. Resellers need to make healthy margins for the service they are providing, and partners in printing are key to that success.
  • Impeccable reputation and integrity. The bottom line is that ethical printers don’t steal their customer’s customers.
  • Expertise with the reseller market. The printer must have the ability to brand proofs and packaging appropriately to create a seamless process for the end-client.
  • Transparency about capabilities. A valuable printer-vendor is clear about crucial capabilities like run length and available presses, which vary widely from shop to shop.
  • Guaranteed satisfaction. If the customer is not happy with the product, resellers should never find themselves stuck in a hard spot between the client and the printer. We say, “Make it right — no matter what.”

Independent print consultants return again and again to Consolidated Press for all these reasons and more! We offer value pricing because of our streamlined manufacturing process, low overhead and in-house capabilities which include perfect binding. And we don’t rest until we have exceeded the expectations of our valued reseller partners, whether we are creating enhanced covers with specialty coatings, discount mailing, classic sheetfed printing, high-value variable data printing, or executing a project from beginning to end. We bring speed and focus to every job, providing a seamless value-add to any project you need started, enhanced or finished.

As you know, the pieces don’t just fall into place. At Consolidated Press, we plan projects with purpose.

Call or click today to start our valuable partnership in printing.