Book Printing Outlook : E-Readers Equal E-rosion?
Top 5 Book Printers for 2010.
Two HP T300 inkjet digital web presses helped Courier reduce inventory costs, warehouse space and keep fewer books in inventory.
Market growth and the emergence of high-speed inkjet printing have enabled Courier to add a sixth manufacturing facility, Courier Digital Solutions, to its stable. This winter, the company also plans to install its fourth four-color manroland Lithoman heatset web press in its Kendallville, IN, plant.
With the uncertainty of midterm political elections over and an improving economy, Courier is bullish on a successful 2011. Tobin believes the investments in digital inkjet and conventional hardware will enable the printer to mine deeper with existing clients and provide opportunities to expand market share.
"We'll have the opportunity to say 'yes' a lot more in 2011 than we have in the past," he notes. "Publishers want to assign a program of titles for us to manage throughout their lives. Maybe we're producing 300 or 500 preproduction copies of a book for them to use for seeding the market. Once the title becomes accepted, we can produce 20,000 in an offset run, then go back to producing it digitally in the twilight years."
Another printer that addresses the educational market—both el-hi and higher education—is Malloy Inc., of Ann Arbor, MI. Higher ed yielded high-single-digit growth, notes Malloy President Bill Upton, with el-hi in the low-single range. Trade, which represents the largest share of his company's business, kept a steady pace in 2010, and Upton saw a trend toward more frequent printings of lower-count runs.
"Publishers are being more cautious of how they handle their inventories," he points out. "In the past six months, we've had a surge of customers that are small publishers or self-publishers. The trade market seems to be more diffused."
Upton believes e-books are making publishers wary of inventory levels, as performers such as Amazon appear to be garnering share from the traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. Similarly, the major publishing houses are being even more particular in taking on new authors, which is helping to fuel the self-publishing arena, according to Upton.