Book Printing Outlook — Opportunities Abound
ONE THING is a safe bet when it comes to handicapping the fortunes of the book manufacturing sector: Those who stay in school will definitely go far.
The book platform is rife with challenges. Overseas printers can offer attractive production cost savings and adequate turnarounds in segments that aren’t as time- sensitive, such as coffee table books. One-color has become a bubbling commodity cauldron for print- on-demand digital applications; a boon for publishers that don’t want to carry excess inventory but, from this side of a playing field, it resembles a feeding frenzy for printers with comparable equipment.
Want to continue dabbling in trade? Three words carry a sickening finality to them: No more Potter. The seventh and final edition of the über-popular “Harry Potter” series bowed this past summer. With Joanne Rowling pondering her next move, who is going to capture the consumer’s imagination...and wallet share?
But Uncle Julius was right when he chided you about education being the best road to take. An education is forever, and the current adoption cycle seems to have lasted that long. We’re smack in the heart of a fertile 2005-2009 adoption cycle for the elementary/high school (el-hi) segment.
Ed Lane, president of book and directory for Chicago-based RR Donnelley, points out that a number of states have helped keep the educational presses rolling due to strong rollout programs. Among them: Texas and Georgia for math materials; California and South Carolina in science; and Indiana, Oregon and Texas for reading.
“RR Donnelley is delighted with the response of our employees as they rose to the challenge of successfully integrating Von Hoffmann and Banta into the platform,” Lane says. “We are also pleased with the ability to leverage this expanded platform to meet all of our customers’ education needs.”
Trade Sector: Solid Year
It was a solid year for the trade sector, as well. Citing Association of American Publishers (AAP) statistics, Lane notes that adult hardcover year-to-date sales enjoyed double-digit growth. That growth has been driven by blockbuster performances from the best-seller lists.