It may have seemed odd when Book Business revived the Top 20 Book Manufacturers ranking in 2014, a time when ebook sales were booming and discussions of print’s death were rampant. But print books are still here and with help of new printing and fulfillment technology, publishers are finding ways to print books more economically and in better response to consumer demand. For example, print-on-demand has enabled publishers to revive out-of-print titles or respond to unexpected surges in popularity of backlist titles around news events or celebrity recommendations.
Many book manufacturers have adjusted their businesses to meet the needs of the modern book industry. Most notably in the past several years we’ve seen Top 20 printers increase their investment in digital book printing technology, with some reporting that as much as 50% of their book revenue is from digital printing.
While the names and ranking of companies listed change from year to year, the mission of the Top 20 Book Manufacturers mission remains unchanged. The ranking is intended to help publishers get a complete view of the major players in the book printing business. The Top 20 ranks leading book manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada by revenue generated in the book sector in 2015.
In the previous two Top 20 rankings the top 5 spots have remained relatively constant, but this year ranks 3 through 5 saw a lot of change. Walsworth Publishing and Edwards Brothers Malloy both rose one spot to capture the 3rd and 4th rank, respectively. TC Transcontinental paved the way for this shift, dropping from 3rd to 5th in the ranking.
P.A. Hutchison Co. experienced the most significant improvement in rank. P.A. Hutchison Co rose from 20th to 15th. Two new book manufacturers broke into the Top 20 this year: Lowe-Martin Group and BR Printers enter the ranking at the 18th and 20th positions, respectively.
For the second year we asked book manufacturers if they offer digital book printing. While not all manufacturers responded to this question, 10 of the Top 20 indicated that they offer digital book printing. Webcom and Bookmasters reported that roughly 50% of their book printing revenue is from digital printing, the largest portion for any manufacturers that reported this data.
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