Book Printing Outlook: Trade, Higher Ed Better
Courier has also positioned itself for positive growth in 2010 backed by a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to adapt its new HP T300 color ink-jet web press technology to the book market. Third-party technology providers will supply collating, folding and book block-building equipment and in-line binding for the manufacture of high-end one-, two- and four-color digital books in a broad range of run lengths. Courier will test the production line on its own publishing companies, particularly Dover Publications.
Courier was one of the first companies on board with the digital revolution back in 1993, when it invested in five networked Xerox DocuTechs. The T300 solution will allow the printer to address the needs of four-color, trade and textbook production in run lengths below the traditional offset threshold of 1,000.
"Until this equipment became available, unit costs were pretty high for a digitally produced four-color book in a run of 700 to 800 books," Tobin points out. "This will allow us to build a really nice business and to meet a need among higher ed publishers, as well as trade and el-hi publishers."
The name may be slightly different, but little has changed in the grand scheme for Worldcolor (nee Quebecor World) as it continues to seek out ways to differentiate itself among book printers. According to Kevin Clarke, president of Publishing Services, 2009 was a tale of two campaigns; the first, an ultra-conservative reaction to the economy, with a solid finish in the second half of the year buoyed by some big titles fueling the trade arena.
Worldcolor's educational fortunes mirrored their contemporaries; tempered adoptions at the el-hi level, but encouraging enrollment levels for higher education. Bibles, manufactured in the company's Bogota, Columbia, facility, were up significantly. Religious trade, led by significant growth in the self-help/inspirational/spiritual titles, proved to be another strong suit for Worldcolor.