American Printer has been one of Quick Printing's respected competitors since QP was founded nearly 35 years ago, so I was deeply saddened to learn that it has ceased publication. In a notice on the publication's website, editor Katherine O'Brien made the announcement and traced the magazine's history, which goes back to 1928.
In light of the consolidation and shrinking of the industry that has occurred during the recent recession, many of our readers understand the mixed emotions that arise when we see a competitor fall. They are magnified when the field is as narrow as the one occupied by printing trade publications. There is the rush of opportunity left by the newly opened void, but it is leavened by concern for those who are personally affected by the closing and by the recognition of what that loss means to the industry at large.
I recall a limo ride to a restaurant a few years ago. The trade press had been flown out to visit a new facility that one of the vendors had opened. When I think back on the editors who were in that limo--laughing together and swapping stories, as we always do when we meet on the road--I realize that only three of us are still standing. And since Mark Vruno is now editor of Printing News, two of the three work for the Cygnus Graphics Media Group.
I begin to understand the concept of survivor's guilt. We have watched as first Instant and Small Commercial Printer, then Graphic Arts Monthly folded. Now they are joined by American Printer. Katherine is well respected and an exceptional talent. I have no doubt that she will land on her feet and come out ahead of the game. I wish her and the rest of the American Printer staff many new open doors. Yes, we were competitors, but when it gets right down to brass tacks, we're all in this crazy business together, and we are a bit lonelier today for the loss.