Printing Industry Finds Home on the Web

Two new Web sites are bringing the $275 billion (US$) commercial printing industry to the Internet, changing the way orders and supplies will be distributed online.

Impresse Corp. lined up Hewlett-Packard Co. to jointly market and sell its new impresse.com commercial printing services to major corporations through HP’s e-services program. Impresse.com is a new Internet service tailored for print buyers at corporations and creative services firms. The service enables companies with printing needs to automate and manage their print procurement workflow from project creation through fulfillment and delivery.

Buyers and printers can use the site to develop, update and change orders, schedule reprints, request and provide price quotes and negotiate printing agreements. Impresse, based in Sunnyvale, California, is a private company with venture capital backing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, The Java Fund and Atlas Venture.

“Printing services are needed by practically every business in America and Global 2000 companies spend close to three percent of annual revenues on printing. While printing is a mature industry in many respects, leading companies in the industry are taking advantage of Internet-based technologies to improve efficiency and expand their product offerings,” said Ray Roper, president of Printing Industries of America. PIA estimates the print industry generated more than $275 billion in revenue last year.

A Place to Put the Words

The paper these corporations are printing on generates another $200 billion in revenue, according to PrintBid.com, an online marketplace for print buyers, commercial printers and printing industry suppliers. To increase the interaction between buyers and sellers, the company launched PaperDeals.com, a new auction site. The company said it has already registered thousands of commercial users for the auction site, including top-name paper mills, distributors, brokers, importers and exporters, publishing companies and corporations. The seller pays a percentage transaction fee once an auction is successfully closed.

“Everybody has been reading about how the Internet is transforming selling practices in commodity industries such as oil and gas, chemicals, and steel. The paper industry is a natural fit for Web-based business-to-business transactions,” said Terry Plummer, a new member of PrintBid.com’s board of advisors and a former executive of Boise Cascade mills.

The site uses both live auction and exchange trading, with deals in 5,000 different paper stocks. PaperDeals.com is the first of a line of Web sites PrintBid.com plans to launch over the next year for commercial printers. PaperBuy.com will combine distributors’ inventories with pricing tables to create an order processing system for conventional paper purchases. With that planned site and PaperDeals.com, the company hopes to serve more than 90 percent of printing companies’ needs.

PrintBid.com is based in Portland, Oregon.

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