Book Printing Outlook -- Consumer Confidence Key
Due to customer requests and a desire to be a full-service book printing provider, the print-on-demand (POD) era is coming to Courier Corp. Tobin says the company plans to develop a digital book printing platform in-house during 2009. This will enable the printer to continue serving clients with lower quantities in an age of low-to-near-zero inventory.
As for how 2009 may play out, Tobin rattles off the prime suspects: the economy, consumer confidence, credit markets and global financial markets. Understanding the cautious approach taken by customers will go a long way toward setting expectations, he adds.
“We, at Courier, are focusing on what we’ve been doing this year—providing great service, increasing our share with current customers and winning new clients,” Tobin remarks. “We’re confident we’ll do fine in ’09. That said, I think it will be a year where everyone is just going to be very careful about how they spend money and invest, and publishers will be cautious about building too much inventory.
“Print runs will probably continue to get smaller in some instances, but I think the industry will be healthy. Enrollments are up, so that will help. As long as we understand people are being conservative in spending, we’ll be able to adjust our efforts accordingly. It should work out to be a decent year.”
With an unpredictable trade market and retailers staring down a challenging 2008 holiday season, RR Donnelley provided customers with inventory management, quick turnarounds and broad flexibility. Meyer’s “Twilight” and Oprah picks gave RR Donnelley the chance to continue providing quick turns on large volume orders, so its customers could maximize sales.
Some Segments Growing
Ed Lane, president of book and directory at RR Donnelley, points out that the education sector saw growth in basal and supplemental sales, buoyed by RR Donnelley’s diverse product list ranging from testing materials to flash cards, kitting and fulfillment. Aiding in the growth is its investment in single-color digital gear, sheetfed presses and binding lines to improve flexibility and efficiency in its domestic and Chinese platforms.