BookTech '99 Event Showcases Capabilities
It was noted throughout the sessions that the Internet is changing the way publishers sell books, even as digital technologies allow processing of material in fast and flexible ways.
In a session called "The Publishing Budget Watcher's Fast Forecast," Robert Mathews, senior vice president and general manager of Quebecor Books, noted, "During this past decade, electronic digital technologies have and will continue to take the printing industry from its historical perspective as a mystical, craft production process with long production cycles, to a more precise, easily transferable production platform.
"This will drastically reduce production cycle times, offer a variety of repurposing formats and reduce publishers' costs, both direct as well as indirect, associated with inventory and returns processes… From CD-ROM to Internet applications, the ability to repurpose their intellectual property has given both publisher and printer an opportunity to offer a greater array of services and products to grow their businesses."
Speaking about the Internet and about emerging technologies in general, keynote speaker Liz Hacking, vice president of Strategic Development for Houghton Mifflin, talked about how important it is for large, successful companies to stay alert to customers' needs and to emerging technological opportunities that could fulfill them. A company that allows enhancements of successful core products to consume all developmental resources, she noted, may ultimately lose ground to upstarts with new ideas.
At the session "Toward the New Millennium: What Publishers Will Need From Suppliers Five Years Out," noted printers spoke about maximizing the potential for faster turnaround and the flexible production offered by the Internet and digital technologies. Speakers predicted that publishers and printers are likely to engage in more sharing of business information, such as inventory and scheduling, in years to come.