Publishers and Subscription Video-On-Demand

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As the publishing industry continues to evolve, publishers are beginning to investigate and try new forms of content distribution to add to their mix. Currently, one of the most unique options is subscription video-on-demand.

What is Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD):

Cable and satellite are directly delivered program video, requiring the viewer to watch based on the pre-set schedule; if you want to watch 60 Minutes, you have to be on your couch at the right time on the right day. This is what is commonly known as traditional video, and while publishers can leverage it, it is not an ideal medium in most cases.

Youtube is the most common example of video on-demand (VOD), the opposite of traditional video. VOD is a service that provides internet-based video that can be watched anywhere at any time, hence the “cutting the cord” terminology that gets thrown around a lot. Most VOD content is user-generated and would not include content that is normally accessible through cable or satellite.

That is where options like Hulu and Netflix come in. These are subscription video on-demand, or SVOD services. The “anywhere, any time” concept is maintained, and content that would normally be found on cable or satellite is also included. It comes with a small subscription fee, but it is more affordable than traditional video options, and more and more video content producers are starting to include SVOD in their content distribution strategies, if not shifting to this form of distribution only.

How Can Publishers Use SVOD:

Publications are the owners of the subscription market. Sure, not every publication uses a subscription model, but the system was built for and by publications. It is about time it took authority in that realm once again. Subscription video-on-demand is a great place to start!

Video in general is a highly-consumed form of content, which means professional content producers like publishers should be leveraging it. It can provide a unique angle that complements editorial, or can cover content that might be hard to express in editorial. Using video just makes sense for publishers, especially when you consider that with SVOD, your content itself can be monetized.

Second, video does not have to be a massive, terribly expensive undertaking. The attention span for video is much shorter than that for written content, so you only need each video to be a few minutes to generate results. Also, with smart phones that wield incredibly high-tech cameras and numerous, affordable editing softwares, it is easy to shoot and produce quality video content on a budget. Considering that SVOD generates revenue, developing a strategy that balances video content costs can ensure profits from SVOD.

Third, subscription video is easy content to distribute. Publications today already have a social media presence and websites, and both those options have numerous ways to set up subscription-based video content distribution. A publisher can also sell their video content to larger subscription video services, like Amazon Prime, who already have a massive audience and subscription setup, and distribute the content on the publisher’s behalf for a fee.

The SVOD Decisions Publishers Face:

The most important thing for publishers to know is that VIDEO IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! While publishers as a whole benefit from SVOD and video in general, each case is unique; there are audiences who are not a right fit for video content, and visa versa. Publishers should investigate their audience and test before jumping on the video bandwagon.

If video is right for the audience and publication, the next hurdle is picking the content. It is not simply a question of what content the audience prefers, because some topics or content cannot be made into video format easily or in a short-form fashion. The publisher will need to develop a strategy to determine when editorial content can be expanded with video, or when topics can be made into standalone video.

SVOD also brings up the lifetime value issue. Many publications make their money with time-sensitive or time-contextual content. For video, this is a great option, but from a subscription standpoint, the content should be developed to provide value long-term. Of course, if a publisher develops enough video content consistently, this becomes mute, but for the publishers that prefer to do only a few videos a month, long-term value is how you ensure subscribers stick around, and new subscribers buy in.

The biggest challenge for publishers looking to leverage SVOD relates to distribution. SVOD may be easy to deliver, but it does take skill and setup if a publisher wants to rely on their own channels, and not a service like Amazon Prime. The system to accept payments and manage the subscriptions needs to be built or integrated into the existing subscription system. The means to host all of the video content needs to be dealt with. Most importantly, a strategy to drive traffic and sell those subscriptions needs to be made (bundle with print subscription, offer exclusive content to increase the value, etc.).

In general, video and SVOD provide value when executed well and for the right reasons. These decisions all help determine the worth to invest in SVOD, as well as how to ensure it has positive ROI if implemented.

Further Information

To read more on how publishers can leverage subscription video on-demand, click here. For information on how publishers can make use of video in general, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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2018: Awards and Recognitions for PPC

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Publication Printers has grown a great deal from its humble beginnings in 1979. With that growth has come recognition not only as a printing company, but as an organization in general.

One of the most important things we can do as a company is to see how our brand has changed and how the industry sees us as a whole. There is no better way to do that than to look back at the awards, accolades, and recognition we received. Here is a quick rundown of 2018:

Colorado Biz names PPC 26th top Colorado private business:

The Colorado Business Magazine, more commonly known as Colorado Biz, puts out an annual list of the top 250 private businesses in Colorado. We have consistently been in the top 50 for years, but we made a 9 spot jump from 2017 to 2018, which shows how much progress we are making as a company.

Publication Printers was also nominated runner-up by the Colorado Biz readers for the “Best Printer” in the Colorado Biz Best of Colorado Business Choice awards.

PPC Takes Home the 2018 “Benny” for Heatset Web Magazines:

There are a number of annual publication printing award shows that span different types of print, different types of publications, art design, staff, and a gamut of other realms. For 2018, the most notable award we received was the Benny Award, one of the nation’s most recognized awards for print quality. Publication Printers also received several other awards in various categories from award shows:

Printing Industries of America: Premiere Print Awards

  • The “Benny” Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)

WSPA: Print Excellence Awards

  • Gold Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)
  • Silver  Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)
  • Bronze Award (Magazine: Heatset Web)

Printing Impressions: Gold Ink Awards

  • Gold Award (Specialty Magazine, Web)
  • Bronze Award (Trade Magazine, Web)
  • Bronze Award (Business Catalog, Web)
  • Pewter Award (Consumer Magazine)
  • Pewter Award (Magazine Cover)

Further Information

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Magazines Still Need Print: The Facts

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Print is alive and well, despite the abundance of whispers still asking the question. Over the past decade, the magazine industry has seen huge shifts in business, due to innovations in online and digital media. However, no matter how big the shift has been, print remains vital to the industry, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Here are the reasons why!

Revenue matters, and print is still the breadwinner:

Advertisements from print were responsible for over $16 billion in revenue in 2016 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, commonly PwC). Around 87% of revenue related to circulation that year was also coming from print products.

Digital publishing has allowed for lower start-up costs for new publications, but the stream of revenue is not there for most. Only a select few, with the right niche topics and an abundance of alternative revenue streams (subscription video, social media advertising, tiered content strategies, other products, etc.) have found themselves extremely profitable with an all-digital publication. Most end up closing shop or integrating print just to balance the scale.

That said, to quote the president of Meredith’s National Media Group: “… print and digital; not print or digital. In today’s industry, balancing both is the key to success.

Data for print ROI has come a long way:

One of the biggest appeals of digital marketing and advertising is the ability to track information on a very precise level, or it used to be. With so many fake accounts and bots and other mechanisms, digital analytics related to sales or chain-of-purchase, or even just page views, is now incredibly hard to make accurate.

This does not change the fact that realistic data can be a huge asset. That is why so many publishers have worked to develop data algorithms that help prove ROI, track actual chain of purchase, and other vital details specific to print publications … and it is now a reality.

Bauer Media is one of the leaders pioneering print data analytics. Their software provides research data about advertisement and readership as a whole to help show advertisers how ads can help them meet their goals. The result is that Bauer makes ¾ of its revenue from print, and is thriving in today’s market.

Frequency and newsstand dates make a difference:

Digital publications, and online content producers in general suffer from online audiences expecting constant, consistent new stuff. As publishers strain to pump out content, they shift their focus from quality to quantity.

Print publications have a much lighter expectation for content, with weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annual releases being perfectly normal. Not to mention, the slight variations in how often, and when it goes to actually producing the publication, can make a huge difference in dollars.

Vanity Fair is a great example of this. They combined December and January issues into a “holiday” issue, and also fused July and August to make a “summer” issue. This adjusted their schedule in the newsstands by just a few days, but meant saving a lot of money in printing costs. It also allowed them to have a flexible issue that they release in February related to the award show. It is not part of the normal print schedule, so it can fit in wherever is most affordable for their printer.

For digital publications, adjusting distribution makes little to no monetary change outside of the cost to produce content within a certain timeframe, and the staff needed to do it.

Further Information

For more detail on these facts about print and more, click here. You can also check out this article about 4 major reasons print is still around in a digital age.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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2019 Strategy & Ideas from Top Publication Execs

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A recent Folio: article covered an incredibly powerful story for magazines regarding the 2019 year. The article features 9 media executives, all of whom have print publications, and details on the strategies they have in mind for the new year. Here are some of the general takeaways:

What did they learn from 2018:

The lessons and ideas these executives took from the previous year run the gamut. That said, there was one overarching theme for almost all of the executives: people are the most important aspect of keeping print and publishing a thriving industry.

2018 was a year where newspapers and magazines alike sought to lower overhead and drive more revenue. One of the big pushes was to decrease staff (the largest expense, on average), and increase advertisement sales. While this helped solve issues for some, overall it scared the industry. Content does not write itself, and quality content is hard to come by these days. Losing staff means more strain and work for those left, and when quantity is forced, quality suffers.

The executives all agreed that putting faith and energy and money into their staff can make the difference. To quote the original story: “the difference between success and failure will come down to the most important capital we have: people.”

What are they focusing on for 2019:

First and foremost, the 9 mentioned executives were all from businesses that avoided the heavy cutting of their staff. Thus, they were able to maintain quality content and look for new innovations for 2019.

So on top of optimizing the way they use their personnel, each executive has their own action plan for 2019. Some of the executives are planning to relaunch their brands to drive new engagement. Others developing new business models to expand their streams of revenue. Some are investing in new content solutions of entirely new product lines. What is important to note is that, across the board, all of them are looking at 2019 with positivity, and as an opportunity for growth and progress.

Along with positivity, they do also share a drive to expand beyond the pages of their publications, print or digital. Each of these executives is incorporating an idea that has been slowly adopted by the printing industry over the past decade: convergence. Simply put, specialize in one thing, but build an expertise and offering in complementary areas to your specialty. From events to storefronts to agencies, each executive and their publications are broadening what they do, to better serve both their audiences and other businesses.

Further Information

To read the original Folio: story, click here.
Executive Perspectives: How 9 Media Leaders are Strategizing for the New Year

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Love Your Paper

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How upgrading paper can improve your bottom line.

Paper is the heart of a print publication. The moment someone picks up a book, a magazine, or any printed piece, even before they start reading, they feel it, and making that experience a priority can improve your bottom line and the amount of engagement you receive.

“I will never go to newsprint again… This is the perfect stock for us! And the fact that several ad agencies and other media outlets have frequently commented on the substantial improvement in our products adds to the testimonial of the paper stock.” – Gary Hibert | Owner/Publisher of Colorado Parent

There are numerous, powerful reasons why upgrading from newsprint to glossy paper can help grow your revenue, but here are two of the biggest:

Reason # 1 – Upgrade in Perceived Quality

By upgrading your paper, you are upgrading the quality of your publication. When compared side by side, your magazine will stand out above any other publication printed on newsprint. This improves the perception of your brand, increases the likelihood it will be picked up off of a rack, and therefore, more likely to be read by more people.

As an added advantage, research shows that people tend to hold on to glossy magazines for a longer period of time and share it with friends and family. Advertisers understand these differences and will pay more to advertise in a higher quality magazine!

Reason # 2 – Upgrade in Visual Quality

Full-color photos and graphic images really “pop” off the page on glossy paper. For example, if you are appealing to parents, whose worlds revolve around kids, when you think of kids, you think COLOR!

Color attracts attention! Many of your advertisers already know this and they design colorful ads for this very reason. Are you providing them the best vehicle for that ad to stand out? In the world of publishing, best vehicle = glossy paper and heatset printing.

Test it Out

We are equipped with a complete digital printing department. As a test this month, why don’t you take the files from your last issue and print a dozen sales copies on glossy paper? You can give them to your top advertisers to obtain feedback.

The idea of making a change like this can be intimidating and overwhelming. But do not worry! You don’t have to do it alone – we are here to help every step along the way.

Further Information

To learn more about the differences between various stocks and types of paper, click here. For more information on the benefits of coated and glossy paper, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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USPS changes for 2019, updated

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Update (12/28/18)

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) officially approved the price alterations proposed by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The various changes to price, as well as to structure, postage statements, and technical specifications will all roll out starting January 27th of 2019.

The details of these changes are very specific, so the best way to learn about them is to attend the upcoming webinar being hosted by the USPS. Anyone can call in or join using the information provided below.

2019 USPS Price Increase Update Webinar

Date of Webinar: Tuesday, January 15th
Time of Webinar: 1pm Eastern Standard Time
Length of Webinar: 1 hour

You can attend the webinar by clicking here, entering your information, and clicking join. The webinar meeting number is 745 607 288.

You can also choose to simply call in and listen to the presentation by calling 1-855-860-7461 (US toll free) or 1-678-317-2063 (US). The teleconference code is 737 719 4840.

For further questions regarding the changes and these USPS information updates, please contact Cathy Scocco.

eDoc Version Support

Along with the new changes, the Postal Customer Council (PCC) is making minor updates to improve the eDoc support. On January 13, 2019, changes to the PostalOne! system will take place. For more information on what versions are going to be supported or not, you can read this document or visit the PCC website.

CAPS retiring, EPS migration required
USPS gave notice last June that they would  be retiring its longstanding payment processing system known as CAPS (Centralized Accounting Processing System) in 2019.

The deadline to migrate CAPS accounts over to EPS (Enterprise Payments System) is April 1st. After that day, support for CAPS accounts (except for limited circumstances) will no longer be provided.

To learn more about CAPS, EPS, and the reason behind the changes, click here. If you need help with setting up EPS, you can click here.
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Original Story

The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently submitted new prices to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed price changes, should they be approved, would take effect on January 27, 2019. The proposed price changes will raise Mailing Services product prices by approximately 2.5%. There would also be changes to Shipping Services pricing, though this would vary by product.

Cause for the changes can be greatly attributed to the current market conditions. The Governors of the Postal Service feel that these new rates will help keep USPS competitive, while also providing needed revenue for the postal service.

One of the largest impacts to the American public, which includes publishers, would be a change in stamp prices. A 5-cent increase to First-Class Mail Forever stamp has been proposed, from 50 cents to 55 cents, but the “additional ounce” pricing would be reduced to 15 cents. This means stamped letters over 2 ounces will have a higher stamp cost but have reduced shipping rates.

Further Information

For more information on the proposed USPS postal prices for 2019, click here. To see the slides from the price change proposal webinar from USPS, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Pantone Color Calls for Environmental Preservation

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Pantone has become a corporate icon thanks to its Color of the Year. For 2019, they decided to leverage that influence by using their color choice to discuss a greater topic than color: environmental preservation.

The VP of Pantone’s color consulting unit, Laurie Pressman, expressed that preserving nature was a hot topic, both in the sense that it is avoided heavily while also needing to be addressed. Pressman went on to explain that a coral-natured color was also a natural choice to represent this. Coral provides shelter and sustenance for marine life and also helps purify water. So they chose the color “Living Coral”.

This is not the first time that Pantone has dove into these waters. The Color of the Year for 2017 was “Greenery.” It represented a similar notion of environmental preservation and “going green.”

How this impacts the magazine industry:

Retail is the largest industry influences by the Pantone colors. Retail also makes up a significant amount of advertisements in the magazine industry. By proxy, that means a lot of Pantone colors in magazines. With Living Coral, that also means the message and general idea of environmental preservation will also pervade magazines.

Luckily, environmental preservation is huge in the magazine industry. From FSC paper to Print Releaf, there are numerous ways publishers can make their titles “green.” However, those efforts rarely have anything to do with editorial content or the ads within.

Having the ability to connect a publisher’s efforts with something as well known as a Pantone color provides branding opportunities. Leverage social media, editorial content, and other avenues of content distribution to piggyback on the topic and reap benefits that are normally much harder to achieve.

Details on “Living Coral:”

The Pantone Color Institute chooses a new color every year and has done so for over two decades. That color has become the color most likely to impact “product development and purchasing decisions” for the upcoming year. The 2019 Color of the Year is “Living Coral.”

Living Coral won, according to Pantone, because it “appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media. Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities …”

Further Information

To learn more about the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Facebook Instant Articles Further Improved to Help Publishers

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Facebook has had a lot of ups and downs when it comes to working with publishers. In the past year, everything from “fake news” catching algorithms to video metric misinformation has plagued the media giant. However, there have been some beneficial strides as well, and Instant Articles is the greatest of these.

Instant Articles are a way to directly connect professional editorial content to the Facebook newsfeed. The idea is to simplify the ease of access for readers to high-quality content. Content providers include magazines, newspapers, and other professional content producers. Instant Articles provide another means to monetize Facebook by providing subscription models and advertising capabilities as well.

The idea behind Instant Articles was always to help content producers reach readers where they actually consume content, social media. For that reason, each time Instant Articles are optimized, it is either for the improvement of access to content or to make providing content easier.

The most recent improvements to Instant Articles include cutting down development time for publishers, making it easier to integrate with the subscription/paywall system, and a call-to-action screen to urge readers to follow a publisher on Facebook. Future improvements include the ability to target posts specifically to subscribers, integrate existing website subscriber lists, and to adjust the content distribution algorithm for continued improvement of reach to ideal readerships.

It is important to remember that social media channels exist for the benefit of the end user, the readership. That means Facebook will implement changes to improve the user experience at the expense of helping publishers and other organizations. Therefore, publishers need to be wary and protect their brands. It is best to consult with a social media professional who specializes in working with publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about what Instant Articles are, click hereTo see more information on the recent updates to Facebook Instant Articles, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

Image courtesy of Facebook Instant Articles
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Add the Ad that Counts: Cover Wraps

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The decline of ad revenue is one of the magazine industry’s greatest concerns. It is also one of the reasons that the whole “print is dead” concept came about; if you are not making ad dollars, and subscriptions are harder to come by, how does a magazine make money?

The answer to the question lies in resolving a huge industry assumption. Traditional ad dollars, meaning the sale of ad spaces in a magazine, are lower. They are not gone. Further, internal ads are not the only ads available for a print magazine. Cover wraps, for example, are a great alternative, and also one of the few sources of print advertising revenue that has increased in recent years.

What is a cover wrap?

Cover wraps differ from traditional magazine ads, so not everyone knows what a cover wrap is. Think of it as a 4-page cover, completely composed of ads, that runs over the actual cover. For saddle-stitch magazines, this means a 4-page signature placed on top of the regular cover. For perfect bound magazines, the cover would be the cover and spine, and the “real” cover would be two inserts placed inside of the cover wrap.

In most cases, a single advertiser purchases the whole 4-page wrap, or two advertisers split the wrap. In the case of two buyers, one usually buys the front and cover, the other buys the back cover.

There is also the option for a front-only cover wrap, where an additional sheet, sometimes made from a different paper, is placed on top of the front cover. This is more complicated to produce, but still a viable option.

Why are cover wraps working when other ads are not?

The first thing to address is that print ads are working, just not as well as they used to. Cover wraps happen to be performing well at this time, more so than other print ads. With that said, why are they working when other print ads are not?

  1. Not every print for an issue needs a cover wrap. A publisher can sell a cover to a specific segment of the readership. Publishers can sell multiple cover wraps for the same print issue. If an advertiser wants to target a specific list within a readership, that is a premium opportunity. Sell it as such.
  2. A magazine’s value to the reader is not its ads, but its content. So rather than disrupting the reader, cover wraps immediately affiliate the ad with the content, and give the reader the chance to experience the ad prior to consuming the content. This also affiliates the ad with the brand more than an internal ad, because of the magazine branding and cover page elements, and almost hides the ad in the form of editorial content.
  3. They can be used for self-promotion. By directly affiliating with the content and brand of the magazine, the chance of engagement is much higher. Using cover wraps for subscription renewals, corporate updates, or to promote the release of new titles through existing titles are all functional options.
  4. Cover wraps can be an alternative to an internal ad, or an upsell opportunity. If an advertiser is already buying a cover ad, it is easier to sell a discounted internal ad to them as well. It may not be as large of margins, but selling two ads helps offset that.
  5. An advertiser can run a campaign across multiple publications at once using cover wraps. Advertisers want the most bang for their buck, so being able to generate one main campaign cover wrap, and work with multiple titles would allow them to run the same ad to multiple markets and readerships at the same time.

What are the limitations of cover wraps?

Cover wraps are additional pages being added to a publication. Regardless of how many issues include a cover wrap, there are additional print costs associated with cover wraps. The weight of each print with a cover wrap also increases, thus increasing shipping costs. The ads sold in a cover wraps often offset these costs, but the publisher needs to do research and price the ads appropriately to ensure an ROI.

Branding also comes into play. Even though there is still a real cover underneath the cover wrap, what readers see first is the wrap. A magazine’s brand must be strong enough to ensure the reader knows, even with the ad on the cover, what magazine it is. The wrap is unsuccessful otherwise, and hurt the magazine’s brand in general.

Lastly, cover wraps, when used for targeted segments of a readership, reach only general groups. Digital advertising gives advertisers the means to define incredibly specific audiences, like “farm owners in Indiana with a preference for comic books.” In comparison to those digital audiences, print audiences target generic groups. That applies to the struggles of print versus digital advertising in general though, not just cover wraps.

Further Information

To learn more about cover wraps, click hereTo see more information on functions and examples of cover wraps, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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ColoradoBiz names PPC 26th Top Private Business in Colorado

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PPC named 26th in ColoradoBiz top 250 private companies

PPC named 26th in ColoradoBiz top 250 private companies

ColoradoBiz has been Colorado’s premier business magazine for over 33 years, featuring new and information relevant to the entire state’s business community. Their goal is to highlight people, products, and companies that impact today’s and tomorrow’s economy for Colorado. As a part of this, they publish an annual list of the top 250 private businesses in the state. They just released their 2018 list earlier in November.

 

This year, Publication Printers Corp. ranked 26th on the list, a fantastic feat representing our influence on our local community. It also greatly represents our growth as a company. Last year (2017), we ranked 35th. The approximately 22% growth rate between then and now led to that 9-spot leap. Publication Printers is also the highest ranked printer in the state of Colorado, based on the list.

Further Information

To learn more about ColoradoBiz, click hereTo see the full list of the ColoradoBiz top 250 private businesses in Colorado, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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