The book manufacturing segment has come a long way since the doom and gloom days five years ago when many people questioned whether the printed book was in death mode due to the rise of ebooks. But, as we head into 2018, the demand for printed books is rising. And, with customer demands driving shorter runs and ultra-fast turnarounds, book printers are rising to the challenge of meeting those demands by continuing to invest in production inkjet and digital imaging technologies.
New Disrupter: Amazon’s Turnaround SLAs
“It’s an exciting time to be in the industry,” says John Conley, CEO of Borderland Advisors, and a 42-year book manufacturing industry veteran with stints at RR Donnelley and then Xerox. What he is referring to is a new disrupter in the industry: Amazon same-day delivery, which he points out, will totally change today’s book publishing, manufacturing and distribution markets. Although it is unclear at this point exactly what the Service Level Agreement (SLA) will be, Conley does note that the supply chain requirement will create new profit models and opportunities for both publishers and printers.
“There will be a lot of opportunities for those people willing to deliver on the SLA that Amazon is going to ask for. I think it’s going to be a pretty firm and non-negotiable agreement because Amazon is a company that expects to meet customer expectations 100% of the time. This is the customer experience it will expect of those who work with them in this same-day delivery model,” he explains.
Demand Will Continue for Shorter Runs
In 2017, the book printing market continued to see the demand for shorter runs, which will continue in 2018. One printer that is moving in lockstep with that demand for shorter press runs is Walsworth in Marceline, Mo.
“We have been able to transform our platform to the production of smaller-run books. This has also necessitated adding digital binding to our platform,” says David Grisa, executive VP of commercial sales at Walsworth. “Digital printing has allowed us to economically produce smaller order quantities.”
A Look Ahead to 2018
According to Conley, education continues to be a very murky segment as we move into 2018. “It’s been a lot more feast or famine in the K through 12 business, and we have seen a lot of reduction of capacity allocated to produce those books,” he explains. “For K through 12, everyone isn’t switching over to all e-platforms yet, because one of the things that educators are struggling with is the effectiveness of the e-platform – how good is it as a teaching tool, and what is the stickiness of learning on a computer versus learning from a textbook?”
According to Conley, the offset business will continue to consolidate, a trend that the book manufacturing industry will see for the next three years. “There will be more consolidation within the midsize printer market. There will also be a smaller group of core offset providers and then a much larger group of digital [print] providers, along with those offset printers that also have digital capabilities.”
much more at: http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/article/2018-book-manufacturing-outlook-includes-ranking-top-5-book-printers-based-latest-pi-400-list/#ne=d7f0e6e16b0d037f71fc050491da5623&utm_source=book-business-insight&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=2017-12-14&utm_content=2018+book+manufacturing+outlook+includes+ranking+of+top+5+book+printers+based+on+latest+%3Cem%3Epi%3C%2Fem%3E+400+list-1