This year’s Print World show began on a beautiful and sunny Saturday, on the morning of November 20. Toronto’s Direct Energy centre played host to the event that reportedly saw visitors from more than 15 countries around the world. Though the show was noticeably smaller than some were used to, the overall attendance was positive – as were the number of “sold” signs on the equipment!
While walking around the show floor from booth to booth, I received a lot of feedback from exhibitors. Some weren’t too sure what to expect going into the show this year, given the economy and state of the industry. However, I heard a number of people say that they had generated a lot of key leads and sold a machine or two in the process. I also heard that there were more actual printing units on the Toronto show floor than there were at Graph Expo!
It was great to see a number of exhibitors using Print World as a launching pad to unveil new equipment. Canadian debuts included Konica Minolta’s C8000 digital press, Agfa’s Jeti 1224 UV, Ricoh’s C901 digital press, Oce’s Arizona 550 XT as well as the Xerox 550 and 560 printers. The show also acted as a world debut for Hans Gronhi’s GH6664B 4-colour press.
The show’s seminar lineup was also very impressive. The two keynote speakers were Bob Young and Frank Romano, who had some key insights on the industry. As the CEO of Lulu.com, a self-publishing website, Young had a great point for professionals in print sales: “Don’t think about how to get BMW to buy more printed brochures; think about how you can help them sell more cars.” With this state of mind, customers will see the value in print and keep coming back for more. Frank Romano, a well-known expert on print, spoke on the industry trend of companies who dramatically lower the prices for print. “The last time someone was able to charge a true premium for printing was when it was just Gutenburg,” he said, noting that the only way to grow these days is to find new things that people will pay a premium for.
The UpLinX print software theatre and the Print Buyer’s panel also drew quite a few attendees who were eager to absorb all the information they could. Over at the Case Study theatre, successful printers shared their stories and experiences with captivated audiences. In a very open and honest presentation, Warren Werbitt spoke about his company’s recent experience with filing for bankruptcy protection and how he survived this experience. He noted that any successful entrepreneur goes through struggles like this; the first thing he did during the struggle was make it clear to his employees that “we’re not going anywhere.” He also joked: “If I hear one more person say, ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,’ I’ll strangle them!” Jay Mandarino from CJ Graphics predicted an increasing challenge in large-format printing as more and more companies enter into and saturate that market. He also noted that, as an industry, “we have to work together” and stop lowering the price for print in order for it to stay a valuable commodity.
Over the next few pages, we’ve got a photo album for you to check out! We’ll let the pictures take over and do the talking, letting you get a close-up view of the people and happenings on the Print World show floor.