Book Printing Outlook — Opportunities Abound
Tobin says Courier has also had a hand in the sound growth reaped in the higher education space, bolstered by increased share and a bump in volume levels. Religion posted another steady, if unspectacular, campaign.
Summer growth for the trade space resulted from a somewhat unexpected demand increase. Again, Courier was able to take away a greater share of publisher pie in a year filled with new titles and fast-track books that required quicker turns which, he contends, speaks to the printer’s competencies.
“We saw a lot of fast reprints for titles that took off because publishers might have been a little cautious on their first printing (volume),” Tobin says.
In past years, “Harry Potter” pro- duction caused a capacity crunch for other publishers that provided residual volume to Courier and other printers with available press time, but Tobin says that wasn’t the case with the final “Potter” installment.
Pricing pressures that have been felt domestically and internationally by Montréal-based Quebecor World has been a function of excess capacity, according to Kevin Clarke, president of book and directory services. The rules of engagement continue to change.
“Demand is changing radically,” he says. “You’ve got the embracing of time sensitivity, extreme publishing, just-in-time...the whole supply chain emphasis in this business has become extraordinary. The publishers are dealing with significant return issues and, from that perspective, we understand their challenges.
“We’re seeing an emerging digital market that’s starting to gain traction in a variety of different products. Electronic distribution of information is surely gaining strength. It will be interesting to see what momentum and significant traction it gains. We radically changed our digital position on that basis.”
Consumer Sector Boost
As for 2007, the consumer sector proved bountiful for Quebecor World, which also had a large hand in “Potter” manufacturing. Education has seen major consolidation on the publishing end, Clarke notes, and offshore options have been embraced far more today than in past years.