How Big is the Printing Industry?

By Andrew Paparozzi
In December 23, 2009

NAPL’s new Printing Industry Profile: Structural Changes Increasingly Evident Within Industry Demographics shows an industry changing
profoundly. However to understand these changes we must first carefully define
 what the printing industry is made-up of.

NAPL defines the printing industry as consisting of “commercial and quick printers but not publishers, converters, in-plants, trade shops, or any others for whom printing for a non-captive market is not a primary business.” By our definition, the industry includes
approximately 31,000 establishments and about 600,000 employees nationwide. Include copy and trade shops, periodical publishers, book publishers, newspaper publishers, and greeting card, map, calendar, and atlas publishers and the totals rise to around 60,000 establishments and over one million employees. (See the figure below. Please consult the Profile
for a breakdown by revenue.)

Moreover, all NAPL printing industry sales figures include revenue from all sources, not just printing. As we emphasize in the Profile, “Simply put, if commercial or quick printers are doing it, it’s in our numbers; if they aren’t, it isn’t. And we don’t break data our for print alone because that sends the wrong message: Success in today’s printing industry is about print-and, not print-or.”

As we head into this recovery, it is only with a clear understanding of what our industry is can we hope to understand what changes will be taking place in our industry and what challenges still lie ahead us. In or next post, we will look at the structural change and how it has affected the printing industry.


Andrew Paparozzi

Epicomm's Andrew Paparozzi, Vice President/Chief Economist, is well-known for his accurate and thoughtful discussions on the economy and US commercial printing industry. A foremost author and speaker on economic business trends in the printing industry, Paparozzi heads Epicomm's Printing Economic Research Center.

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