Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Long Tail

The "long tail" is a term used in the publishing industry to describe that trickle of sales that come after a product's main sales peak has passed.  I've heard comments from cross stitchers wondering why charts ever need to go out of print until the designer does anything short of die.  For most designers, it's just not that easy or profitable to juggle the inventory and logistics once sales of an item drop below a certain threshold; it's easier to pull the plug.

In attempts to keep things looking professional and consistent, I've outsources most of the Ink Circles chart printing.  I like the look and feel of heavy cardstock color covers and thick paper, double sided.  That said, I've reached a point with a few titles where the couple copies sold per year does not justify re-ordering from the print shop (100 minimum.)  So we had some options:

a) You guys can buy lots and lots of older titles and keep them alive for-evuh. (I'm actually okay with this option, so go for it if you like :-)
b) Say bye-bye to Beau Leggy and others, which makes us both sad.
c) Accept lesser quality printed charts. C'mon face it - can your printer print double-sided card stock full page prints? Do you enjoy swapping papers in the tray and have you mastered manual duplexing?
d) Hire a beast.

Meet the Beast.
So, besides being the size and weight of a VW bug, this new printer does wonderful things, or at least I'm sure it will when I get it all figured out.  I do know that bottom drawer is the "heavy media tray" and it will duplex cardstock.  It has drivers for Windows 7, unlike my old laserjet that lost most of its features when I migrated to the new laptop and had to start using a generic driver.  It has a hard drive that should allow me to store commonly used print jobs so I can access them without even using the computer.

I've also found a place where I can order some very nice looking covers for a fantastic price, but only in giant quantities - 1000, 2000, etc.   So, some newer charts will initially have these covers while the beast takes care of the black and white parts.

I'm hoping that this will allow me to better manage inventory, keep printing costs reasonable, and not spend all day swapping feed paper and running off with a USB thumb drive to borrow an xp laptop from a kid when I needed to print on the old laserjet. It may or may not help with my run-on sentences.


  1. To welcome The Beast, I may just have to go order a chart!

  2. The Beast is beautiful! I think I'm in love. Can't wait to see what it does for you and subsequently for us! ;-)

  3. Hello Beast! I used to play with your ancestors from Xerox and Oce and loved them all. You shall play nicely with your new mistress or I will come and tickle your pinch rollers if you don't!

  4. So glad this means that you won't have ti retire your older patterns. Welcome to the Beast!

  5. Hello, Beast. I wish I could afford one of your cousins. :P
    Yay for older patterns staying in print.

  6. Beast is good :) Not having to retire anything is better!

  7. Hi Beast nice to meet ya.... Tracy - I wouldn't mind if you offered a down loadable PDF version of your charts as well.

  8. "Beast"? Hmmm, companion to Dutch Beast? Can we say "Bigfoot" or "Sasquatch"?