A tradition of excellence

Do you still produce books?

As soon as I mention that my company produces books, the reaction is almost always the same: “Printing is dead…” This perception is widespread in society and heavily perpetuated by the media. It’s comforting to say that we no longer need printed products, that everything is happening online. However, the reality is quite different, and the printing industry has positioned itself differently in our lives.

There are approximately 50,000 people working in the printing industry in Canada. While this number has decreased over the past 10 years due to numerous mergers and closures of less efficient print shops, it has stabilized. In fact, today’s printing facilities operate at an unimaginable speed compared to 15 or 20 years ago, significantly reducing prices, production lead times, and the required workforce.

For most people, printing is synonymous with newspapers, books, and business cards. However, since the turn of the century, we have witnessed the evolution and growing presence of printed products that we couldn’t have envisioned before the advent of the digital age: printed cans indicating beer temperature, custom entrance mats for businesses, full personalized storefronts, small-run color books down to a single copy, labels on virtually any product, highly specialized magazines targeting niche audiences, banners and customized items at every point of sale, high-quality printed patterns on clothing or fabrics, containers of various shapes and materials printed with colors and images, fully personalized statements and invoices, catalogs tailored to your shopping habits, not to mention 3D printing, and more.

Books are still very much present, despite what the media may suggest. The digital realm is here to stay, but it has stopped growing significantly in recent years. The negative environmental impact of printed books has also decreased as people increasingly understand that they are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, which is far from the case with our electronic gadgets.

What matters now in printing is the relevance of the product. In the past, to reduce the unit cost of a product and make it affordable, it had to be printed in large quantities. This is no longer necessary. We print the right quantity at the right time and at the best cost, completely changing the game. Just think that back in the 1980s, color separation for an 8×10-inch photo could cost up to $200. Imagine the added cost to a Sears catalog. This step has been completely eliminated for many years, along with most other pre-press production steps.

In short, when I have more than 5 minutes to present my line of work, people better understand what the printing industry is like today. A visit to our facilities or those of a modern printer always creates the same impact. People are amazed by the technology of the machines, the cleanliness of the premises, and the quality of the finished products. We are far from the time when a pressman had one car for work and another for the weekends…

What remains is the need to communicate, and the printing industry plays this role just like the web, radio, television, and whatever else will be invented in the coming years!