The changing to all Print on Demand Charts is starting to have side effects. In the past with a very few printing agents the price was about the same no matter what. Now with five more Print on Demand certified companies being certified there are the first hints of competition with some companies lowering their prices a bit. It remains to be seen the effect the change will have on companies that used to only stock a few NOAA charts of the area around their store, not sure how they will cope with the changes & still provide charts to their customers and not drive good business to another chart retailer that can print the charts on site.
New certified printing agents bring buying options
It won’t be long before mariners and the boating public will have a wider choice of options and special services when they purchase NOAA paper nautical charts, thanks to NOAA’s expanded “print-on-demand” chart production and distribution system, Coast Survey officials announced on April 4. Coast Survey recently certified new print-on-demand chart printing agents, and gave them the flexibility to offer different color palettes, various papers, a cleaner margin, and a range of services.
Rear Admiral Gerd Glang and Capt. Shep Smith inspect sample charts submitted by new print agents.
NOAA has now authorized seven companies to sell NOAA’s paper nautical charts that are printed when the customer orders them — or “on demand.” The information on the charts is still maintained by NOAA, and the charts are corrected with Notices to Mariners up to the week of purchase.
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