Many changes have happened in the commercial printing industry. From the early 1800’s when the printing industry was beginning to now they have seen many changes. However at no other period of time have they experienced the rapid changes that the industry has seen in the last 10 years. The advance of technology has forced the printing industry to make changes to keep up.
We have come a long way from the time when books and documents were printed by hand. With the early 1990’s computers began to play a role in the printing industry. The software was developed to a point that it made sense to start using word processing programs for printing and adapting it to work with the printers for high volume jobs. If he you needed a chart for homework you still made it by hand and took it to a commercial print shop to make copies of it.
By the turn of the century those in commercial printing were finding that the computer was taking over their business. People were able to afford computers in their homes and printers were so inexpensive that they were able to print off their own copies. Small commercial printers were finding that they needed to change the types of services they offered to bring in more business. They started offering different print options like publishing, faxing, color copies, calendars, business cards and most recently vinyl lettering and yard signs. They also began to carry more office supplies and scrapbooking supplies.
It has not been just the small commercial printers that have felt the pinch however. Mid-size and large printers have felt the heat. Even the commercial newsgroups and publishers have lost a lot of business to the computer industry. It is so much easier to type articles or documents into the computer and then proofread and edit them as needed. They can be saved and used repeatedly with very little time and effort. They can be printed if needed multiple times for a fraction of the time and cost it used to take.
Then, as if those changes weren’t enough, the internet was born. The internet is probably the biggest reason that there have been such profound changes in the commercial printing industry. People started reading newspapers and books off of the internet. People e-mail now instead of sending newsletters and bulletins. People no longer do assignments or make handouts that need to be copied for everyone instead that make “YouTubes” or PowerPoint presentations. Even print advertising is now done on the internet.
No one can argue the hardship and challenge that those involved in the printing industry have been through over the last decade. They have been able to adjust to the changes and to find customers and ways that they can still attract customers and provide a variety of services to keep their doors open. There will continue to be changes in the commercial printing industry and that will force changes in the way they do their jobs and the services that they offer.