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Commercial Printing Shipments Grew in January, but Challenges Remain for Industry

Following drastic declines in newspaper and magazine advertising revenue, many market experts have been quick to predict a similar fate for the rest of the print industry. But the diversity of print may ensure its own survival, and a new study by WhatTheyThink magazine suggests the sector may even be on the rebound.

According to the report, released Thursday, commercial printing shipments reached $6.7 billion in January of this year – up 4.1 percent, or $270 million, from the same period in 2010. That figure equated to a gain of 2.5 percent with inflation adjusted.

The findings also bode well considering 2010's dismal findings for the industry, as the recession hiked up commodity prices and scaled back consumer spending. But now that the economy is beginning to recover, the printing industry is facing new challenges in remaining competitive.

"Print businesses need to use this time well, and carefully reorganize their operations for the continuing pressures of communications technologies," said Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.

"The pressures for consolidation in the printing industry will persist, and it's important that businesses that do combine do so in a proactive way that creates new product offerings for the increased preference and reliance for digital media," he added.

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