The printers dilemma: Print Service Provider or Content Service Provider

printers-dilemmaPrinters are faced with a dilemma, is their future going to be just printing or do they need to offer the full process from content creation to distribution?

The answer to this question is important because it decides if they need to invest in iron or in knowledge.
Do they need to open their (internet) doors for print only or include the customer´s content and multi channel publishing?
Will the future be about the way content gets transferred to paper or about the way content is created and distributed?
These questions need to be answered quickly in order to survive.


Print Service Provider
A number of successful print companies have proven that there is a place in this world for print service companies. Technological or market specialization is the key to this success.

BB150923 webtoprint1Technological specialization for example in super format multi colour offset and new technology such as LED UV guarantees fast delivery, low prices and high quality. Specialization in disrupting print technology such as inkjet for labels, packaging and book print is also successful. This specialization is economically challenging and needs a well oiled sales force generating enough orders for continuous production.

Web2Print is an other successful business model. Requirement for success is automation of the full client-to-delivery process. Printers interested in this model have a full array of services at their disposal. From doing it yourself with standard software to complete packages including proposals, orders, production, dispatch and invoices, everything is available. A new solution is using a print service provider already offering all this as Software As A Service. This allows for zero investment as costs are included in the order price.


Content Service Provider

solnhofer-steenIf you manage the content you manage the order! Magazine and newspaper printers/publishers have proven this since the invention of print. Judging by the bankruptcies our digital age has added some challenges to this business model. The times that owning a solnhofer stone made you the owner of content are over. The internet has made the transfer of content global and simple. If you want to manage content you need to offer digital publication technology such as app, online and social media publishing.

Managing content starts with the creation of text and images. This has become a lot simpler with the right software. The rise of self publishing in the book market has been enormous over the past few years with services such as Lulu and Amazon. These services and services such as Blurb and MagCloud are also available for self publishing of magazines.

A content service provider without distribution channels cannot keep up with these specialists. But there are opportunities in the business market, if a full package is offered, included (contracted) copywriters and designers. Apart from a quick turnaround and lower costs the advantages to the customer are a product suitable for all media. A content service provider that takes care of the full process will ensure that the resolution of the images, the lay-out and user interface is suitable for all media, be it print, online, app or social media publication.

content-service-providerA content service provider primarily needs to invest in knowledge, not necessarily very detailed as knowledge can be contracted. Prepress knowledge and software such as the Adobe Publishing Suite will get you very far. Keeping up-to-date on trends and applications is made easy by information sources such as You will be surprised by the number of simple and affordable solutions to go from Print First to Content First.

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Rob van den Braak

Printer’s devil (1964), phototypesetter, offsetprinter, teacher of graphic techniques, salesmanager, productmanager, trade journalist, founder of BlokBoek e-zine (2011). But above all husband, father, friend and lover of life in southern Spain (since 2010).

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