More Changes for the Independents
Change is constant and inevitable. The independent segment of the printed products industry has undergone tremendous change over the past several years, and 2005 is no different. We have reached a point where the distinction between supplier and distributor is fading. In many instances they function as separate arms of the same entity with the differences between them lost on the customer. Multi-source options may be used as a selling point by distributors, but all that it really means to the customer is that prices remain competitive.
The largest of the distributors—IBSA, WorkflowOne, Proforma and American—now command so much press time that they are essentially in control of printing resources. WorkflowOne's acquisition of Relizon puts that company literally in control of a huge printing resource. If WorkflowOne shifts a large amount of printing to Relizon's presses, the effect on current independent suppliers could be dramatic. The coming year should be interesting as we see whether the industry can expand to fill this increased capacity.
BFL&S is not immune to change either. With other responsibilities at North American Publishing calling me away, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Nichole Stella as the new Editor-In-Chief of BFL&S. Nikki brings talent and enthusiasm to the position, along with a lot of class. Nikki will now serve as our conduit of information to the industry. I will still be around as Editorial Director, but responsibility for editorial operations now rests with Nikki, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.