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Print Buying Services

We personally work with the publisher’s staff in locating, qualifying, analyzing and selecting the best printer for their needs. We are not brokers and are not compensated by any vendor in any way. We are consultants, hired and paid by the publisher, to represent them during the vendor analysis process. We become their temporary staff experts on the printing and distribution industries, up-to-date on market trends, press availability and industry technologies.


We negotiate on behalf of publishers every day. We are intimately familiar with all North American publication printers, knowing their strengths, weaknesses, specialties, equipment, and people. We have toured, or placed work in, most publication printers during our combined experience of over fifty years in the business. We also purchase printing and distribution services overseas.


Our primary goal is representing the publisher’s best interests in the process of hiring a qualified printer who can deliver the quality, service and fulfillment at the best cost.


In essence, printing equipment cannot tell the difference between one publisher and another…people do. The equipment views every publication, basically, the same. But, in reality, every publisher and their publications are unique. Each publishing company has different goals, priorities, personalities, competitive markets, schedule requirements, and their own strengths and weaknesses. We help define their needs and locate the printer who has the best services, staff, equipment and specialties to efficiently deliver their product and achieve their objectives.


The process that we use has been proven to be successful with each client we have worked with. It works with every kind of publishing company from start-up operations, to multi-titled companies, and from the smallest circulation publications to the largest. It is a process that is structured, yet flexible. It allows for the uniqueness of both the publisher and the printer. It allows the buyer to keep control of the project without the printers bombarding them with confusing terminology, variations, pricing structures and reams and reams of confusing proposals.


We keep the process in a structured, orderly, and controlled manner. We perform all cost analyses; review advantages and disadvantages; recommend finalists for further review; analyze paper usage, sources and costs; analyze distribution services; test page file transmissions and outputting; tour plants; recommend targets and strategies for negotiations; protect their interests with contract verbiage; and negotiate closure.


The following is a summary of the services offered during the print-buying process:

  • Establish Goals and Priorities
  • Locate and Qualify Printers
  • Prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Printing and Distribution
  • Submit RFPs
  • Analyze Printing Bids
  • Recommend Selection of Finalists
  • Analyze Paper Usage, Sources and Costs
  • Analyze Distribution; Postal Analysis and/or Newsstand Efficiencies
  • Tour Printing Facilities with Publisher
  • Analyze and Rate all Cost and Non-Cost Items and Services
  • Target Items for Improvement through Negotiations
  • Recommend Strategies
  • Develop Contract Language that Protects the Publisher
  • Negotiate Closure

The publisher is the client and ultimately ends up in the relationship, so we make sure that they are kept in the loop during the entire process. They receive the original proposals from the vendors while we get copies. We make recommendations while they make the decisions. They educate us on their goals and priorities and we obtain them.


We have a proven track record working with start-up publications. The cost analysis software, which we have designed and used with many companies (see Steven Frye biography), is invaluable during the turbulent process of determining specifications. We can play unlimited “what if” games with any manufacturing variable.


We guarantee that our services will help their company. We put in writing that if we cannot save them more money than we charge for our services, we will perform the work at no cost. This guarantee is intended for established publications, whereas startup publications will pay for my services as regular work-for-hire. We charge a fixed fee for a defined service. Publishers are never charged for miscellaneous hourly or day rates, phone calls or travel time. All time needed for the project is included in the initial fee.


Our goal is to place the publisher into the best relationship with a printer, establishing a symbiotic relationship that both benefit from. The publisher ends up working with a vendor that can deliver the quality of product and service, the expertise in staff, efficiency with appropriate equipment, timely delivery on newsstand and postal due dates and at the best price. We also make sure that the printer makes a profit from their work and values them as an important customer. This profit comes from their efficiency and not from the publisher’s pocketbook!


That is the goal of the project…to find the printer who fits the publisher’s operations like a puzzle piece. That fit allows the printer to produce and deliver the work at a lower cost while still making a profit. It’s a win-win relationship that the publisher can depend on for all of their printing and distribution needs.


Call (208) 788-5110 for a proposal and start the improvement process and savings now.

“Steve's negotiating skills were doubly valuable not only in reaching the final price list but in sculpting the language on a contract unfamiliar to the legal department of a non-publishing, non-profit association. We saved a mid-six-figure sum annually.”

Brett Avery, Editor

Golf Journal

United States Golf Association

“ I have successfully and profitably worked with Steven Frye for more than twenty years. His knowledge of the magazine business and strong orientation to the bottom line have put him in the upper echelon of consultants to the magazine industry. He is the first person to whom I turn before entering print contract negotiation, and happily, we’ve never been let down.”

Norman Ridker

Chairman of the Board

BowTie, Inc.

Fancy Publications

“Steve Frye has handled the last couple of printing contract negotiations for Consumers Digest magazine. I would not hesitate to work with him again on future projects or recommend his services to others. He knows how to match client needs with supplier capabilities thereby delivering quality printing sources at competitive prices. It is also reassuring to know that his support continues after contracts are signed to deal with any loose ends or issues should they arise.”

Randy Weber


Publisher Consumers Digest