'Good, Basic Printing'
Though the publishing industry is infused with digital technologies, the in-plants that serve publishers often run more modest operations.
In remote Madawaska, Maine, digital printing technology is about as common as a winter sunbather.
"We haven't seen much up here, because we're in a very rural area," says Maurice Morin, in-plant printing manager of the St. John Valley Times. Morin, who oversees five full-time and three part-time employees in this town on the Canadian border, takes this all in stride, however.
"Digital technology is something that larger firms can afford to buy. The money's just not here. People here want good, basic printing—nothing fancy."
Even in the publishing industry, where digital technologies abound, not every in-plant is decked out with the latest computerized gear. Though digital technologies have become integral to book and magazine publishing, the in-plants serving these companies sometimes have more modest capabilities.
Despite the difficulties of keeping pace, however, Morin stresses that his operation is not totally in the dark.
"We have a Macintosh computer system and a Riso, but everything else is offset," he notes. "If someone has a job that needs digital work, we send it out. We don't have any demand for it."
Morin's shop, which has a million-dollar annual operating budget, handles a variety of printing jobs in addition to the St. John Valley Times, a 6,500-circulation weekly community newspaper. Among the 1,500 outside jobs it completes each year are small-run magazines for local historical societies, annual reports, brochures, business cards, posters, calendars, and newsletters, all with an average run of 1,000 pieces. Nearly all of its printing is done in black and white or multi-color; just two percent of the jobs are produced in four-color process. All told, the shop brings in between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of business per month.