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Thread: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

  1. #1

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    Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2008
    CONTACT: Joe Choquette, 802-225-5510

    Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    (Lunenburg, Vt.) Managing Director and CEO Warren Bingham announced today that The Stinehour Press, an award-winning book design and printing firm, will be ending operations and liquidating its assets after more than 50 years of operation in northern Vermont. The company, which had several million dollars in sales last year, employed a staff of 21 highly skilled workers. “Although it’s been lovingly cared for, our offset press equipment is more than 25 years old and lacks many of the digital time-saving devices and speed of newer presses; and we’re behind the technology curve by not yet having adopted fully digital pre-press capability,” Bingham said. “Our sales force estimates that the company had to forfeit several million dollars in business last year because of capacity constraints caused by our old equipment, and we would need to invest at least $3 million to be competitive. In today’s economy, when added to what we’ve already invested in the company, it’s beyond what a small group of committed owners can do. We’re heart-broken that what began with so much hope and represents the hard work and passionate commitment of so many is ending.”

    Bingham met with employees on Monday to advise them of the closing. He said workers will be paid for any accrued vacation time and, if possible, will receive severance pay based on seniority as long as the workout plan enables the company to provide it. The company has contacted the Vermont Department of Labor to advise them of the closing, and intends to be proactive in assisting workers in finding new employment.

    Founded by the legendary book designer and printer, Rocky Stinehour, the Press operated as a family-owned business until 1998 when it was sold to an Irish multinational corporation. Its customer list includes many of the country’s leading arts and cultural institutions and its alumni include an impressive list of some of the most noted book designers and technicians in the country. Clients include the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Fine Art Museums, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum - 2 - of Fine Art in Boston, the Norman Rockwell Museum, The Getty Museum, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and the Smithsonian. Publishers included Random House,
    Little-Brown and many university presses, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth.

    Several years after the initial sale, in 2001, the Irish parent company announced that it was leaving the printing business and planned to close the Press. The current owners, headed by Bingham, bought the business to forestall the closing and in hopes of restoring its prominent position in the book printing world. In addition to significant new capital investment, the new owners strengthened management and systems, rebuilt its sales force and restored its reputation for fine quality work. The company was recently described by the Washington Post as “the premier book printer in the world” and has won more than fifty prestigious awards for design and production quality over the past several years, including back-to-back awards as the SAAPI Printer of the Year of illustrated books in 2006 and 2007. In today’s global economy it was not enough.

    “The lines separating author, publisher, printer and distributor are blurring, and digital technology can make China or Reykjavik seem as close as Lunenburg,” Bingham said. “A new kind of book printing industry is evolving that is based on printing shorter runs of more titles including digital print-on-demand. This should bode well for Stinehour Press and our unique blend of art, craft and technology; but it arrives at the same time as we often see books projects from China for less than we can buy the paper. These are not good times for American manufacturers. I hope we know the full cost of what we’re buying as a society. When lowest cost is always the determining factor, it might be higher than we think.”

  2. #2

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    @#$#^%$

    They were very expensive but very good

  3. #3

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    Very sad. I got the news today from my rep. I called worried about a job I have there and they told me only 8 more weeks "unless there is a miracle". They are a great group of people and I feel very badly that they're out of work. Too bad all the publishers feel the need to go to China these days. As for being expensive, I felt you got what you paid for. Too bad.

  4. #4

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    Even in the 80s "before" the digital revolution they still cost 4x to 8x more than a decent local commercial printer.

  5. #5

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    @#$#^%$

    They were very expensive but very good
    I recently priced a quote from them. 9 5/8 11 5/8. 80 pages, 4C + varnish, 1000 copies. I got the same quote from Dual Graphics and Meridian.

    Dual Graphics was around $45,000, while Meridian (who prints Blindspot) was close to $41,000. Stinehour was more than $10,000 less than both at around $30,000, but for 4C, they only had 200 linescreen capability for color instead of the 300 available with both Dual and Meridian.

    There are going to be a lot of photographers looking for options to choose when publishing books of their work and Stinehour has been one of the least expensive options other than outsourcing thier books. Hopefully photographers will do their research instead of outsouricing their books to China and India. I know many of you feel China can produce excellent quality books -- but how do you think the Chinese are able to print the books so cheaply? How many of the people at the printing company live well and make a decent living and are treated well? And by supporting China, you are also supporting China's politics. Chinese businesses are not privately owned due to Communist rule, so unlike an American company, when you support a Chinese company, you are supporting the Chinese government.

    I mean, listen, my TV was probably made in China, half of the clothes I wear was probably made in China, my watch was, parts of my computer and other electronics come from China...who knows where my dog's food was made in... it's a different world we live in today. But this is because we have little to no choice in a lot of smaller-itemed goods we buy. A book of your photography, however; is something that you can control and you can support American companies while not supporting the American government and its policies which so many people don't.

    They've failed for two reasons: They didn't keep up with technology, as every company should have done and there has been a mass exodus of books of photography to China. Perhaps one could not be without the other... who knows? All I know is that there is one less American option. However; that does not eliminate all of the lesser expensive, high quality American options.

  6. #6

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    Even $30K for 1000 copies of an 80-page book is impractical or insane. Supreme quality is great but those numbers would never work for anyone trying to simply break even, unless they were a celebrity "top ten" art world star whose famous signature might allow the books to be sold at a proportionately ridiculous mark-up.

    I suppose if you go into thinking you're going to blow $20K on it, then it is just vanity.

    I bet the Chinese prices are under $12K.

  7. #7
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    You shouldn't have deleted your post, Duane it was right on. o!
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



  8. #8
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    I have a couple of old books from them. The plates are among the most beautiful prints (not just the most beautiful reproductions) that I've seen. Too bad.

  9. #9
    Michael Alpert
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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    This is horrible news. Stinehour's staff was a pleasure to work with (I've worked with them off and on since 1982). An absolute pleasure. Stinehour's publication-list includes books on most major photographers, as well as many many more general books in the history of photography. For many decades, Stinehour has been central to that history. Stinehour's integrity is legendary. This company will be sorely missed.

  10. #10

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    Re: Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    ...unless they were a celebrity "top ten" art world star ... I bet the Chinese prices are under $12K.
    Not necessarily true - you might be surprised - and check again. Shipping and duty from China can cut into savings and their prices aren't as much less as you might think. Throw in a plane ticket for a press check and you're talking a lot unless you have several projects on press at once. As for vanity…. We did very well with the last project printed at Stinehour, including winning one of those SAPPI awards. A lot of that was with the help of their support structure. I'll take that kind of vanity any time. You're not going to get that in China.

    Stinehour and their people were great, and they were not as far behind technologically as has been portrayed here. They may not have had a POD press, but everything else was pretty up to date as far as I could see.

    There's still Gardener, but they are even more expensive.

    *sigh*

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