21 November 2010
Frank Romano says printers should focus on innovation, local markets
TORONTO—On day two of Print World, keynote speaker Frank Romano, professor emeritus of the Rochester Institute of Technology told a morning crowd that local markets and innovation are keys to increasing revenue.
“The only way to grow as a printing business is to find new things that people will pay a premium for,” said Romano. “You aren’t going to find more of the old kind of printing.” The last time someone was able to charge a true premium for printing was when it was just Gutenberg, said Romano “when someone else came along you can be sure they undercut his prices.”
Romano spoke to issues in the industry, noting revenue was going up until 2001 and again began building until 2008 because printers found value-added services, such as database work, mailing services and fulfillment when the “economy tanked”. As the volume of printing has gone down, the number of printers has gone down. “We have run out of people to cut in the printing industry,” he said. “Now you have to hire someone to lay them off.”
Of the 13 categories of print in the market (can be broken down into many more, said Romano) one of the growth opportunities is in publishing photo books – especially in local markets.
Another market with room for entry is label printing, said Romano. “There is still lots of room for growth in local markets in this area,” he said.
Print World runs today and tomorrow at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. For more information, visit Printworldshow.com.

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