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3/11/2016 8:29:19 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 1599
Purple Pisces wrote:
Last night I tested out erasing pencil marks and erasing with the Frixion pens and had the same results as John and Bernadette! upset I sent an email with my concerns so hopefully it will help. I told them in the e-mail that I can't speak for other puzzlers, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for a higher quality print.


I tend to agree with you on paying more for better quality.

--
Amy

3/11/2016 10:05:24 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
I received my May 2016 issue of Spotlight Remember When Word Seeks today and the first thing I did was check to see which printing company was used. This issue was printed by Trend Offset Printing (in Jacksonville, FL) on 2/22/16, so evidently PennyDell is no longer using the same printing company for all of their publications. Spotlight Word Seeks also used to be printed by Quad Graphics.

I performed an eraser test (LOL) and I didn't seem to have as much of a problem with the magazine ink disappearing, it was about the same as I had with the issues printed by Quad Graphics. Hopefully PennyDell will check with the RR Donnelley printing company to see what kind of ink they're using.

3/12/2016 1:35:09 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Bernadette1959 wrote:
I received my May 2016 issue of Spotlight Remember When Word Seeks today and the first thing I did was check to see which printing company was used. This issue was printed by Trend Offset Printing (in Jacksonville, FL) on 2/22/16, so evidently PennyDell is no longer using the same printing company for all of their publications. Spotlight Word Seeks also used to be printed by Quad Graphics.

I performed an eraser test (LOL) and I didn't seem to have as much of a problem with the magazine ink disappearing, it was about the same as I had with the issues printed by Quad Graphics. Hopefully PennyDell will check with the RR Donnelley printing company to see what kind of ink they're using.


I know I've seen Trend Offset Printing in the past on their books; I think that relationship goes back a bit, and perhaps met a higher standard.

I recently got a shipment of older books off of ebay and one of the letters to the editor had touted Dell's shift to use soy ink. I remember when that was a big deal; I wonder what they use nowadays.

3/16/2016 1:36:18 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
Last night I decided to do a crossword for a change and noticed that the ink was acting similar to the complaints mentioned earlier in this thread. I was surprised to see that the publication was printed by Quad Graphics. The magazine is a January 2016 issue so is fairly recent. I also noticed that it had a little graphic about being printed with soy ink. This made me want to check out other digest-sized magazines I own and noticed that they were also both printed by Quad Graphics (June 2015, February 2016) and also performed the same way. Interesting to note that I did not see the soy ink graphic with these other two magazines, which were both Penny Press, but did see the soy ink graphic with the Dell title (January 2016).

I would have never made these observations if it wasn't for this thread! I guess I'll just do a quick eraser test before I start a new magazine.
edited by Purple Pisces on 3/16/2016

3/16/2016 1:58:14 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Purple Pisces wrote:
Last night I tested out erasing pencil marks and erasing with the Frixion pens and had the same results as John and Bernadette! upset I sent an email with my concerns so hopefully it will help. I told them in the e-mail that I can't speak for other puzzlers, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for a higher quality print.



I also see the soy ink on the RR Donnelly books that came out recently, so perhaps less has changed than we think. For whatever reason the paper feels a bit coarser to me, but it could be perception vs. reality.

3/16/2016 4:30:40 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
Ally, the magazine that I had so much trouble with did not have the soy symbol, either, but I've checked and that symbol is in many of my other 2016 issues.

I know soy ink is supposed to be more environmentally friendly, and supposed to be easier to remove for recycling, but with all due respect to PennyDell I think it is a mistake to use this kind of ink for their kind of publications.

They may need to add a disclaimer in the front of the magazines, advising solvers to avoid erasing as the puzzles will disappear along with your answers. upset
edited by Bernadette1959 on 3/16/2016

3/24/2016 1:04:45 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
I actually wrote a formal letter and mailed it to several of the relevant people listed in the magazine (production and design people, and editors). Haven't heard back yet, but I also included a sample of one of the pages after I erased on it. It looked awful, so I can't imagine they would ignore this problem (or that they wouldn't even *see* it as a problem!).

If cost is the issue, I'd gladly pay another dollar to go back to the way it was.

3/24/2016 1:14:09 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Purple Pisces wrote:
I guess I'll just do a quick eraser test before I start a new magazine.
edited by Purple Pisces on 3/16/2016


A quick way to test for the problem is to just drag your finger across a block of ink in the publication, such as a Crostic puzzle area. I've noticed that in last year's issues, it doesn't rub off at all, but with these new issues, it gets all over you.

It's a good check if you're in the store and considering buying a magazine there.
edited by JohnJSal on 3/24/2016
edited by JohnJSal on 3/24/2016

3/24/2016 1:17:34 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Josh wrote:
perhaps less has changed than we think. For whatever reason the paper feels a bit coarser to me, but it could be perception vs. reality.


There's a definite change for me. Here is the sample page I mailed to the editors and production people:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8bnUgmY20n8eEFkUW0yUkpVVUt5YVFRRXBILUhpTC1PbjlF/view?usp=docslist_api

3/24/2016 2:05:47 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
Yep! Your sample page looks just like a few of mine!

I've come across one page in a newer issue where the ink was already smeared down one side before I even touched it, and also some pages where the print is very, very light, as if it didn't set well.

I'll just say again, I think it's a huge mistake for puzzle publishers to cut corners on ink.
edited by Bernadette1959 on 3/24/2016

3/24/2016 4:06:50 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Bernadette1959 wrote:
Yep! Your sample page looks just like a few of mine!

I've come across one page in a newer issue where the ink was already smeared down one side before I even touched it, and also some pages where the print is very, very light, as if it didn't set well.

I'll just say again, I think it's a huge mistake for puzzle publishers to cut corners on ink.
edited by Bernadette1959 on 3/24/2016


Yes, I've seen similar issues in mine. You may not be able to see it on the sample page, but I circled some examples of the ink rubbing off on the facing pages (before I ever opened the issue), and spelled it all out for them to see.

3/24/2016 9:46:50 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Purple Pisces wrote:
Last night I tested out erasing pencil marks and erasing with the Frixion pens and had the same results as John and Bernadette! upset I sent an email with my concerns so hopefully it will help. I told them in the e-mail that I can't speak for other puzzlers, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for a higher quality print.


Thanks for sending a message too! If it was to Betty Andrews (Readers Service), please let me know if her response says anything like "I hadn't heard of this issue before."

That's what she told me, which is fine, but she's definitely heard about it now.

3/25/2016 11:16:58 AM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
I sent the email to customerservice@pennypublications.com and never heard anything back! I did mention that this issue was discussed on the forum, so hopefully they can see this thread.

3/25/2016 11:21:50 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Purple Pisces wrote:
I sent the email to customerservice@pennypublications.com and never heard anything back! I did mention that this issue was discussed on the forum, so hopefully they can see this thread.


Hmm. Sometimes it does take a while for them to respond. I emailed about getting guidelines for submitting puzzles and didn't hear back for more than a month! And they didn't even send me everything I needed, and I replied again and haven't heard back yet again.

3/29/2016 5:25:58 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
I went to Barnes and Noble today. The good news was that they had about 10 different Penny Press variety puzzle magazines. The bad news, I only found two printed by Quad/Graphics, the rest were RR Donnelley (and the print rubbed off as it does with these new issues), so I had to leave almost all of them behind. :'(

At least I found two more good issues though. Not sure how these other two slipped by, but I'm not complaining. Maybe certain ones are still printed by Quad/Graphics. They were Approved and Family.
edited by JohnJSal on 3/29/2016

5/23/2016 11:08:52 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Hot on the success of my customer service call, I called back and used their directory to reach Susan Mangan, one of the people I wrote the letter to.

She said the issue of the ink had been discussed and they are seeing what they can do with the printer to get the ink to set better. As I figured, they have a contract with RR Donnelly, so switching printers isn't an option.

It was a nice chat and it's good to hear that the issue was discussed internally and with the publisher, but I still worry that it may not go back to how it was before with Quad/Graphics. To me, that was perfect, with no smearing or erasing.

She even said something like "it (the smearing and such) tends to happen with puzzle magazines," so that comment alone made me think they didn't consider it a large problem. I hope I'm wrong about that. I don't know how anyone can do a puzzle (or just look at that sample page I sent) and not think it's a problem.

5/23/2016 1:26:53 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
I never heard anything back from the email I sent. Thanks for taking the time to call (and write them) John!! It's nice to know that they are aware of the issue and looking at possible ways to correct it.

5/23/2016 6:09:58 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
I too am glad they're taking a look. I still feel like the paper's a bit coarser on the new full-sized issues; I'm solving one of the Trend Offset-printed books and it feels a bit nicer for whatever reason. Not sure if it's just perception or reality.

5/24/2016 9:13:19 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
She did mention something about the "economics" of it, so I imagine they got a cheaper deal with the new printer. Too bad it shows. (I know I've complained about ads before, but I'll take a few of those any day if it means better quality printing!)

Honestly though, I don't think it's going to change too much. I think we're stuck with it as it is, at least for the near future. I ordered a pack of variety magazines that are all from last year, so those will keep me busy for a while. I've stopped buying new ones. :-(

And Purple, I'm not surprised they didn't respond. It's just the way it's been lately, unfortunately.
edited by JohnJSal on 5/24/2016

6/1/2016 9:10:58 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 1599
I have to ask, does anyone with a Logic subscription find that the latest issues are as "cheesy" as what everyone has been complaining about? I have a feeling that one of these months I might actually start re-subscribing to Dell Logic magazines -- but not if they've gotten to be poor quality paper and/or poor quality ink.

--
Amy

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