Supply Chain Changes: New Publishing Paradigm
While incremental efficiency for all of the parties can be achieved through technological development and process improvement, further transformation is primarily available through continued expansion and focus of goals, roles and influence in the publishing supply chain ecosystem. Some of these will even be shared roles, like those in studio/premedia and marketing services provider. This type of role sharing will be facilitated through continued innovation and the tighter integration of business processes.
The book publishing supply chain ecosystem is not immune from these changes either. It is going through its own shifts with the increase of digitally produced on-demand books using business models like that of one of the early entrants, Lightning Source. This new production model was initially driven by online distribution from companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which created an illusion that hid the minimal production times required to print as needed/ordered.
Since much of the book publishers' profits were determined by their ability to manage print runs and inventory, digital book production was viewed as the holy grail by many publishers. These changes affect the print service provider, although it also creates opportunities for those who embrace on-demand digital printing technologies.
Book publishers were somewhat insulated from much of the Internet effect that impacted magazine and newspaper publishers until the introduction of smart phones, mobile and tablet reading devices. However, the introduction and adoption of these new devices and channels has accelerated the shift away from printed book production.
Book publishers are now in a similar place as magazine and newspaper publishers. They are looking for new ways to monetize their content, and partner with production resources that can allow them to increase their focus on that goal.
So, while there are many challenges for print service providers as a result of e-media and financial pressures, there are also many new opportunities for those willing to leverage their relationships with their publishing clients through re-defined roles utilizing existing and new skills. PI