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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Please vote! Donate $0 + 5 minutes on line to help the kids @ Phoenix

Phoenix Print Shop (Toronto) trains homeless & at-risk kids ages 16-24 for work in the printing industry. Recently their shelter has been voted a semi-finalist for funding from the Aviva Community Fund for a project called “Eva’s Green Housing Revitalization”. You can help Phoenix win the money by voting for their cause on line (either once or daily until Dec 15th) @

Please consider giving $0 + 5 minutes to help turn young lives around. 

P.S.:  You’ll have to register to vote first @ 

More info on Phoenix Print Shop @

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Isabelle Marcoux named 1 of Canada's Most Powerful Women

Isabelle Marcoux, Transcontinental Printing's VP of Corporate Development, has been named in the Corporate Executives category of the Top 100 Awards of the 2010 listing of Canada's Most Powerful Women.  Brava, Bella!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cross-platform holiday catalogues improve shopping experience for customers

Recent innovations by major retailers to their holiday catalogues have confirmed my September-2010 report from major Canadian binderies that the market for printed catalogues is evolving in new directions but still remains strong: 

As just one example, Sears Holdings Corp. has expanded the value of its holiday tool catalogue as a specialized niche publication via such innovations as full-length articles, QR bar codes, and extensive links to social media.  A Florida tool lover’s online review of this year’s catalogue really drove home the impact of these new features to me by describing how much his annual pleasures of pouring over the publication and compiling his Christmas wish list have been enhanced by access to such online extras as product reviews, demo videos, and chatting with tool experts:

For more details on how the Wish Book makeover is designed to enhance the customer’s experience see:

P.S. on 19 Nov/10:  The efforts of recovering giant, General Motors, to sustain its profitability also include an extensive push on social-media marketing:  Thanks to my LinkedIn contact Cristina Molinari, VP Sales at ATEX Inc. in Montreal, for referring me to the last link.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mixed signals on the future of the printed book

These days it’s hard to decipher market directions when we’re faced with lots of conflicting information.  Take the case of book production, for example: 

Yesterday PrintAction reported how the Scotiabank Giller Prize is helping to boost printed book sales in Canada.

Additionally, two out of three major Canadian binderies I interviewed for my September-2010 column, “The Finishing Formula” confirmed that they expect printed books to enjoy a healthy future:

Moreover, an October-2010 study on the use of electronic books and e-readers in higher education by the OnCampus Research Division of the Ohio-based National Association of College Stores (NACS) has been widely cited as proof that students prefer print textbooks to e-book texts.

On the other hand, the Colorado-based Society for Scholarly Publishing has questioned this interpretation of the NACS study’s findings:

And in a recent statement announcing the closing of Transcontinental Printing’s Boucherville-Quebec plant, Transcon’s senior vice-president Jacques GrĂ©goire said:  ““Today, because of the major structural changes in the printing industry that have led to decreased demand in certain niche markets, Transcontinental is faced with overcapacity in the book, catalogue and magazine segment of its print network.”

Perhaps further intelligence on the printed book’s future will be forthcoming this weekend at the Print World trade show (Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario; November 20, 21, & 22.)  I hope I’ll get the chance to pose questions on this subject to panelists at the Monday seminar “How to Win the War on Print”, who include John D. Williams, CEO, Domtar; Brian Reid, President, Transcontinental Printing; Perry Noxdorf, VP Operations, The Globe and Mail; and Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology.

25 November 2010 update:  Although a related thread on LinkedIn's Future Trends discussion group, entitled "Do you think printed books will die?  Are we all going digital?" is already a month old, it's still getting a remarkable amount of play.

Prominent Egyptian blogger released from jail

Egyptian authorities have freed blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman (a.k.a. Kareem Amer) after 4 years in prison. Soliman’s case has highlighted issues of freedom of speech on the Internet and social media, where censorship is harder to enforce.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Packaging updates

"Pack Balancing Act", my October-2010 column in PrintAction, reports on the latest developments in packaging in Canada--including the recently implemented PACSecure food safety certification program.

Regrettably, I just noticed a typo in the October issue (paragraph 4, page 32), which erroneously states:  "Already PACSecure has certified a dozen or so progressive Canadian packaging companies ...".  Instead, it should have read "half a dozen or so".  In fact, as recently as PAC's 27-Oct-2010 recall and traceability workshop in Toronto, the number of companies to have become certified under PACSecure was exactly 6.  The program is that new!  Additionally, my November-2010 column reports that Deco Labels and Tags is poised to become Canada's first label company to achieve certification under PACSecure.

Prior to the publication of both these columns, I was delighted to have begun exchanging news with several international packaging contacts via LinkedIn.  Now or in future, I'd welcome further feedback on the complex and urgent demands being placed on packagers regarding food safety, environmental sustainability, and other topical issues, in Canada, the U.S., and other countries around the globe.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

World's 1st tablet newspaper coming 2 yr iPad soon?

Futurist Ross Dawson has resurrected the question of what will replace newspapers by predicting the extinction of newspapers as we know them in the U.S. by 2017 and Canada by 2020:  

Also recently, Sachin Kalbag, a columnist for India Today, logged an interesting reaction to octogenarian global media magnate Rupert Murdoch's plan to launch the world’s first newspaper for tablet computers:

Earlier this year Murdoch was slammed for urging newspapers to charge for their on-line content:  Speculation has continued to mount as to whether Murdoch's vision for a tablet newspaper is feasible:

Update on 15 Dec 2010:  The 5th annual North American newspaper preview survey from Toronto-based KubasPrimedia shows the newspaper industry is optimistic about 2011.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doug Ford to donate councillor's salary to charity

Doug Ford, president of Deco Labels and Tags, recently elected Toronto city councillor, and older brother of Toronto mayor-elect Rob Ford, plans to donate his entire councillor’s salary (about $100,000 annually) to community organizations during his four-year term of office.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Label printer Rob Ford elected Toronto's 64th mayor

In today’s municipal election, Rob Ford, CFO and principal of Deco Labels and Tags and a Toronto city councillor for the past decade, has just been elected mayor of Toronto.  His older brother, Doug Ford, Jr., has also just been elected the replacement city councillor in Rob's old ward.  

Rob is scheduled to take over as mayor on December 1st. As far as we know at PrintAction Magazine, it will be the first time a printer has occupied the city’s mayoral office since William Lyon Mackenzie was elected Toronto’s first mayor in 1834.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls going digital on Internet

An inspiring example of the use of digital and Internet technologies to share knowledge and preserve the historical, cultural, and spiritual heritage of humankind.

"The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls," the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Canada & U.S. lag behind on gender equality

Both Canada & the U.S.A. finally made the top 20 nations in the 2010 Global Gender Gap Report, placing 20th & 19th respectively.  But we still lag behind 18 other countries — including Lesotho, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. We’ve gotta improve!