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The Offset Argument

Is offset dead or here to stay? Yes, says one in-plant administrator.

December 2011 By John Sarantakos
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THIS IS going to be a little weird, but I am going to have an argument with myself over the future of offset printing. I must caution the weak of heart to be prepared for violence and possible rough language.

John: You are an idiot! What do you mean offset is dying?

Me: Just what I said. Offset is quickly fading into the sunset.

John: No it's not. I'll admit that it is slowly declining, but so is black-and-white copying. Digital color is growing, but it's still way too expensive for any kind of quantity.

Me: You are correct on that. But I'm talking about five, 10, 20 years from now. Heck, we don't have any idea what technology will bring us 12 months from now. I mean, get real. iPads for one will only grow in strength and popularity. If there is not an app for that now, there will be next week.

John: Why is it then that all the research is telling us that print is the way to advertise? Huh? For crying out loud, I spend more time deleting e-mail junk than I do reading e-mails that are important to me. Now you're trying to tell me there will be more. I don't think so.

Me: How about Virtual Reality?

John: Yeah, that's a good one. Maybe my avatar will make all my buying decisions. I can't wait to snuggle up with a good Kindle on a cold winter night. Don't feed me this junk about how no one will want a real book anymore. As a dyed-in-the-wool Baby Boomer, I will always choose real over electronic.

Me: You are just a techno-incompetent.

John: No I'm not, you dill weed. I'm as savvy as you are. Maybe more so. I contend that my generation and the Gen X group will always demand paper. Now the other generations, I'm not so sure of. It is a little hard to read a book, when you can't read. I will say this, the thing that will kill offset faster than technology is finding people that want to actually work. You know, learn a trade, and produce something. Heck everyone that graduates from college today immediately wants to be the boss making six figures.

About the Author
John Sarantakos is administrator of University of Oklahoma Printing & Mailing Services and president of the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association. You can contact him at


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