Overcoming a printing challenge during the Coronavirus outbreak

Overcoming a printing challenge during the Coronavirus outbreak

Dave Jones

March 31, 2020 / Dave Jones
We have an annual publication titled “Draft Digest,” which previews the 2020 NFL draft taking place on April 22-25. Even though this is a one-time publication, it must be mailed by April 1 so subscribers receive it before the Draft; otherwise, the information is dated. On top of that, we presold thousands of copies.

We had our printing all set for a four-color, stitched glossy magazine. Once the Coronavirus hit, we kept in constant contact with our printer (in PA) to make sure they would be staying open and to be updated on any forced closures. We last spoke to the printer on March 18 and everything was a go. Then the very next day Governor Tom Wolf declared that all “non-life-sustaining businesses” had to close.

This left us scrambling (as well as many others), and we were forced to make some major decisions that could permanently affect our business.

After many phone calls and emails, we found a printer in Buffalo, NY, that was open due to the fact they were classified as an essential business. They could print the issue, but we had to move up our print date and re-format the entire issue to fit their specs. So we called on our editor, writers, and layout people to work overtime to make this happen. They all rose to the challenge and we were able to print the issue -- 4-color, bright white newsprint, trimmed and stitched (not what we promised our subscribers), but it would have to do.

We inserted this note into our publication to let our subscribers know about the change in our format:

Important notice to our readers
The COVID-19 virus continues to make our lives challenging in ways that we may not realize. As you can see, we were unable to print Draft Digest as a magazine. Our printer had to suddenly close because it was considered a non-essential business, and this left us stranded. We made a ton of calls and found one place that was still operational, but we had to redesign the publication to fit their printing size. Once we found a printer, we then had to find a mail house that was still open that could send out Draft Digest. It has been quite an experience, but ultimately the information we provide is the most important aspect of Draft Digest and it is our pleasure to bring it to you.

Honestly, the issue looks far better than we expected; and even though our cost was more, we are glad we could fulfill this issue for our subscribers. Now, it’s just up to the USPS to get it delivered, which we all know can be a lot riskier than any format change!