Cost cutting? Check out eBay

You just might find that part you need


Lance Moler has taken bargain hunting to a new level at The Edmond Sun in Oklahoma. As general manager, before he replaces a part on the press or the CTP processors he checks eBay.

In the last few months alone, Moler has saved nearly $1,000. He said he's amazed by the markups on manufacturer replacement parts and that while he doesn't find every part he needs on eBay or the local hardware store, occasional dramatic savings are well worth taking the time to search.

Take, for example, a developer pump rebuild kit, needed after a switch to a different brand of plate. Moler was told to go ahead and order it from the manufacturer, but he only ordered one to see if it would work.

"The manufacturer wanted, I think it was, $430 for it, approximately. It was a piece of plastic, a little bellows thing," Moler said. "It just amazed me how much they wanted for the pump. It was like, $600 for the whole pump assembly. I went ahead and ordered the replacement kit.

"Then I started looking around because we had another pump that did the same thing. I started looking on eBay and I found the kit, the same kit, for $25."

Moler's eBay search was one of the more intriguing ideas presented at a recent SNPA P2P teleconference on cost cutting.  This column will highlight other ideas from the video conference call in coming weeks.

Browsing eBay reveals hundreds of items for sale relating to newspaper and commercial printing presses. Many of them are antique pieces, but there are also entire printing presses of smaller sizes, in addition to replacement parts. One should try to be as specific as possible; for example, this writer's search for "gum pump" yielded a bubblegum-colored ladies shoe as well as other items that clearly were not what was being sought.

Speaking of the gum pump, Moler was quoted a price of $660 for the part, but found the exact model brand new on eBay for $83. Savings: $577.

Edmond is 15 miles north of Oklahoma City. The Sun is published twice a week and has a circulation of 2,750. It also has numerous printing clients in the Oklahoma City area, including suburban newspapers, school newspapers, shoppers and a business newspaper. The press is a 1997 Community Goss.

Moler tries to buy locally when he needs smaller standard parts such as bearings and switches. What he saves by thrift shopping he reinvests into items that improve print quality for the Sun and his other clients.

"We save money where we can and we put our money where we need to. We put our money into print quality."

For more information, contact Lance Moler at

Jane Nicholes

Jane Nicholes is a veteran journalist based in coastal Alabama and is a regular contributor to SNPA. Reach her at

Suggestions for future stories and comments on this piece are welcomed.


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