Book Printing Outlook : Riding the Higher Ed Wave
The 2011 campaign started out promising for Ann Arbor, MI-based Malloy Inc., but a downturn in the second quarter set the tone for much of its duration (though the Texas legislature finally came through in the summer, providing an uptick for el-hi). E-book erosion hurt Malloy’s trade business, and its professional book segment did not meet up to expectations, according to President Bill Upton.
Late last winter, Malloy obtained a new casebinding line. Unfortunately, Upton expects to see more encroachment in the paperback market, and the printer has invested accordingly.
“Trade paperbacks are down more than the trade hardcover segments,” he notes. “In general, our theory is that consumers who were willing to buy the hardcover premium product in the past will be more likely to stick with that product than those who opted for less-costly softcover products. So, we’ve beefed up our hardcover binding capabilities.”
Upton points out that Malloy’s sales initiatives include spotlighting fulfillment services. Warehousing, along with picking-packing-shipping services, “dovetails nicely with our offset and digital printing services from the perspective of publishers, particularly the small- and medium-sized ones,” he adds.
With e-books continuing to make inroads from a trade perspective, Upton says that publishers will focus on maintaining a lean inventory while keeping unit costs down. Thus, providing inventory management will be a considerable part of Malloy’s value proposition in 2012.
While numerous issues slowed demand in the one-color segment, Chicago-based RR Donnelley (RRD) continued to raise the product and service ante to handle the evolving needs of its publishing clientele. Custom publishing and digital printing helped RRD thrive in the higher ed space, offsetting the disappointing el-hi adoption rate.
The religious space enjoyed growth without a significant challenge from the e-altnerative end, while Donnelley’s international platform appealed to clients in the trade, juvenile and religious sectors, notes Ed Lane, president of books and directories.