The cost of going public is coming down, thanks to the advent of desktop publishing, the new technology that allows you to produce camera-ready copy on a microcomputer (see INC., June, page 137). At least one company has already used a desktop system to produce its own prospectus. The company is Interleaf Inc., a five-year-old manufacturer of electronic publishing systems, based in Cambridge, Mass. When Interleaf went public last June, it had its own people typeset its 50-page prospectus in-house, thereby saving a bundle of money. "We figure it would have cost anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000" to have an outside typesetter do the work, says president and chief executive officer David Boucher.
Normally, prospectuses are put together by specialized financial printers, which do both the typesetting and the printing. The process often involves days of frenetic activity, with company officers and underwriters camping out at the printing plant until the document is complete. Desktop publishing does not mean less work, concedes Boucher, but it does allow a company to do everything except the actual printing (which ran Interleaf about $45,000) with a system that costs around $60,000. Then again, if you're like Interleaf, you may not even have to spend that much. The company manufactures the system with which it typeset its prospectus.