Thursday, January 26, 2006


The Print Council: A $5000 Return for Every $1 Invested

I read with great interest the press release of the Print Council today, which can be found at

It was titled "The Print Council's Expenditures Approach $1 Million," and it details the value of membership dues, donated ad space and public relations services, and other contributions.

The statistical impulses arose within me. Over the past two years, commercial print volume is down about $5 billion dollars. I had to do the math. That's $5 down for every dollar spent. Whoops, that's not right. It has to be $50. No, that's not right either. Just to be sure, I opened my spreadsheet program, and it's $5000.

Yes, for every $1 achieved by the Print Council, printing volume goes down by $5000.

So I just assumed that this was a conspiracy by people who hate print. Therefore, the Google founders must be at work.

So I have a deal for them. Just, please, put us out of our misery. If Google donates about 41,000 shares of stock to the Print Council, we can all go home for the rest of the year, because that would erase the $88 billion in U.S. commercial shipments. Since there are almost 200 million shares of Google outstanding, giving 1.3 shares to every print business every year will probably net them more than they are making now. After all, to hear printers explain it, no one makes money in the printing industry. In fact, Google has enough shares issued to give every U.S. printer 1.3 shares of stock every year for 4700 years.

Measuring your success by how much has been donated, or how much has been spent, is not particularly good. Businesspeople know that. Investments require positive returns.

What will save the industry is not an association, but the innovative actions of motivated individual entrepreneurs. Those people generally don't work well in groups. And they know that a loss of $5000 for every $1 invested is not a good idea.

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