Book Printing Outlook : E-Readers Equal E-rosion?

Top 5 Book Printers for 2010.

Two HP T300 inkjet digital web presses helped Courier reduce inventory costs, warehouse space and keep fewer books in inventory.

Not Taking Over Yet

“The book model isn’t going to change in the near future, until there’s a versatile, fairly sturdy and affordable four-color e-reader that doesn’t need software upgrades on a regular basis,” observes Peter Tobin, vice president at North Chelmsford, MA-based Courier Corp. The perception for e-readers is great, given the mind share they have garnered within the consumer sect, and Tobin notes that publishers are closely monitoring trends.

As for 2010, Courier enjoyed solid performances from the higher education (higher ed) sector, fueled by heavy demand in custom as well as traditional college textbooks, organic growth and strong reprints. The elementary-high school (el-hi) space, from a fiscal standpoint, wasn’t much better off than it was in 2009, but pent-up demand led to modest growth. Organic growth and deeper penetration with existing clientele helped power the trade market into modest gains for Courier, with nice individual performances for crafts, business and cookbooks.

The 2010 campaign was also marked by aggressive platform augmentation at Courier. It invested in two new HP T300 inkjet digital web presses, which were tested and adapted for the book market, for its headquarters location. The result, according to Tobin, is the best of both worlds: offset-quality printing to go with the economical advantage of short-run capabilities. The T300s were about 18 months in the making for Courier and, to Tobin, the acquisition made good economic sense for both the printer and its publisher clients. And, since Courier also has a publishing arm, the benefits were crystal clear.

“A lot of publishers we’ve talked to say they have major initiatives going forward to reduce inventory costs, warehouse space and to carry fewer books that sit in a block for years at a time,” he says. “They want to find ways to cost-effectively manufacture smaller quantities, and this is a solution for that.”

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  • http://JB JB

    Five years ago I remember reading almost the same “wishful thinking” about the advent of the internet’s impact on printed newspapers. The traditionalist sat in their 100 year old office scoffing at the very notion. Not unlike the newspaper legacy, the ink on paper book printers are in for a rude surprises regarding e-books. The biggest reason why was also over looked in your article:
    cost of a just released major title at Barnes and Nobles in a printed book – $27.00+. Cost of that same major title from Amazon or Sony in an ebook- $9.00. Not to mention instant ownership and no trip to the mall.