Book Printing--Passing Grade
Phoenix Color, of Hagerstown, MD, enjoyed its strongest third quarter ever this year, despite softness in trade publishing for the industry at large, according to Dion von der Lieth, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
"For the most part, our growth has been by capturing market share," von der Lieth notes. "In hard cover, the market's kind of flat, but soft cover is up slightly. There are fewer titles published today by the major publishers. You never know what's going to happen—it's difficult to project."
A specialist in book components, Phoenix Color recently opened its first book plant in New Jersey, where it prints juvenile books. An issue the company faces is competition from its Asian counterparts.
"One area we're most concerned with is (getting customers) to understand the real cost of doing business in Asia," von der Lieth says. "If the publishing community looks at the entire cost—freight, inventory cost and time it takes to get product back from Asia—it looks better to do work domestically."
Even so, with the considerable expansion his company is enjoying, von der Lieth anticipates significant growth in book components at Phoenix Color in the coming year.
Snyder notes that 1999 will depend greatly on the status of the economy—both nationally and abroad—since many publishers are global in nature. He expects 1999 to mirror 1998.
"It's a changing marketplace, both for the manufacturer and the publisher," he says. "The plants and publishers that are sharp enough, with the most capable employees, will survive that kind of consolidation."