BOOKS - Textbooks Lead the Way
As far as collegiate texts go, Courier has been helped by large college enrollments as more and more companies are participating in programs to send their employees back to school.
Banta, too, had a strong year with college textbooks, but Mead cautions that market has different dynamics than the el-hi market.
"Colleges are more receptive to custom published products and technology-based materials for instruction," he states. "College-level students are sensitive to cost and are more willing to accept alternatives to the traditional book. Enrollments are up, and the use of four-color and more paperback products benefits us in this market. Our college-level sales have increased significantly in the past few years."
A similar story is unfolding at Chicago-based R.R. Donnelley & Sons, which is the segment's largest printer with $800 million in sales.
Booming Book Biz
"The book business, from our perspective, is simply booming," says Ed Lane, president of book publishing services. "This should be a record year for us in terms of volume produced. One of the things that's been great this year is that we've seen strengths in virtually all of the major segments we serve."
Lane touts all of R.R. Donnelley's products—el-hi, college, religious and trade—as being successful in 2000. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was an ambitious program designed to improve the huge printing company's efficiency.
"One of the initiatives we took this year was to work on installing a uniform PDF file format workflow across all of our plants," Lane explains. "We've seen a migration from more and more of our customers, and across the industry, to a PDF file format. By having this uniform workflow, it allows us to improve efficiency and speed. We can share work across divisions and leverage our size, if you will, to create increased capacity and flexibility for our customers."