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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Abandoning A Dying Trade Might Leave a Monopoly

Recently, I was looking into ordering reprints made for an article that a client was featured in. When my assistant called the company we worked with last year, she found that they had been bought buy a larger provider. The estimate the larger company gave her for a one page color reprint was twice the amount we paid for a 4 page color reprint purchased just under six months ago. When we tried to negotiate, they dismissed us without trying to win our business. The fact is they have a monopoly.

As we later found out, almost all of the reprint companies we called six month ago had been gobbled up by bigger players. I remember getting estimates from several companies and they were all willing to low-ball each other. Now, with only the big boys left, there is no more negotiating, just outrageous prices.

Hot Offer (1.6-1.12) (2)Should the smaller reprint companies have sold-out? For some it might have been the only alternative for others, I think they just gave up. The print business is re-invention mode and maybe the owners of reprint companies felt they didn't stand a chance in the digital world. But the smaller reprinters who were willing to negotiate pricing for companies with small marketing budgets has helped the larger print publishing companies become monolopolies.

Being the last one standing is a benefit in this case. The larger reprinters now are getting all of the business without competitive pricing. I am now trying to help my client negotiate with the magazine directly for reprint permission, so they can have them printed up themselves. It is a small magazine so it shouldn't be a problem. In the end, the larger reprinters might find that reprints will become less popular due to the enormous cost to produce them.

I also noticed that one hour photo desks at large retailers are disappearing. In Pennsylvania Station in NYC, there is a K-mart that used to have a one hour photo desk on the main aisle where commuters walked by. You didn't even have to go in the store, it was right there on the aisle for commuters to dip in and out on their way home.

Kodak EasyShare Gallery Today, I walked by and notcied that the one hour photo has been replaced with a quickie pharmacy department. Now commuters can dip in and out for their favorite meds. With more than 50% of Americans printing their own digital photos, one hour photo shops are becoming a thing of the past. But I am sure for the precious few that hang on, they will be compelled to charge outrageous prices at some point, just because they can.

But I know one thing for sure, there is no chance that precription drugs will disappear anytime soon. For every ache and pain there is a medicine. The quickie pharmacy department at the train station is a brilliant idea. As long as there are still diseases, ailments and illness, pharmaceutical retail sales will remain a safe bet.

1 comment:

SearchEngineFriend said...

Makes much sense- oh, to be the last one standing!