Edwards Brothers Malloy: Making Change Their Friend
"When you get people in a room together and they start to see each other's perspective, it helps to break down walls," Edwards notes.
About five years ago, then-Edwards Brothers unveiled gps Global Print Solutions, a distributive print and distribution model that was ahead of its time. The idea was to form a solution—printing on "both sides of the pond"—that could enable publishers to cost-effectively manage their international printing needs by reducing time to market and diminishing the costs associated with shipping and maintaining inventory. Edwards had explored the possibility of partnering with a United Kingdom print provider 10 years earlier.
"We couldn't make the math work until about three years ago," he says. "Files are now more portable and we've figured out how to reduce the transaction cost. We've since added partners in Australia and Singapore. This is going to grow significantly. I see more titles coming to us from the UK than the other way around."
With book order volumes constantly shrinking, digital output offers the best path to growth for Edwards Brothers Malloy. Custom publishing—a buzz area in higher education, with text content catered toward a specific professor's curriculum—is one of the faster-growing areas. The K-12 segment, which has disappointed the book printing space the past few years, also offers optimism for an uptick in 2014.
Self-publishing continues to be a fertile ground, but one market where Edwards Brothers Malloy will not compete is photo books. The challenge? The Christmas season is when photo book demand is at its peak, but that is also the busy time when Edwards Brothers Malloy is addressing the needs of its education clients.
"One of the areas where we excel is flexibility," Bill Upton observes. "We run a wide gamut of products in offset plants and can match those quite well with our digital offerings. From an inventory management standpoint, that's very important to our customers. They don't have to dramatically change specs when a title moves out of the offset printing realm into the digital realm."