Book Printing Outlook : An Education in Printing
If the 2014 campaign taught us anything, it's not to underestimate the value of a good education. And, from the book manufacturing point of view, the clamoring of presses could only mean one thing: Adoption cycles are back in full force.
Yes, the elementary-high school (el-hi) segment bounced back strongly in 2014 as states dug deep to invest in educational materials. The higher ed market also witnessed a strong upswing to highlight a solid, if unspectacular, year for book printers across the country.
Most segments served by Chicago-based RR Donnelley enjoyed moderate to strong performances across the board in 2014. Children's/young adult and the religious space welcomed banner performances while, in the trade segment—where e-book encroachment has leveled off—RR Donnelley noted strong title lists from many of its key customers, according to Dave McCree, senior vice president of the Book & Directory Group. The el-hi market saw a robust performance thanks to a strong adoption cycle in key markets in 2014.
While volume is always an indicator of solid performance, managing inventories and cash costs are critical to segment success. McCree says that continued focus on inventory planning and supply chain management drives winning solutions for both book printers and publishers.
"The RR Donnelley global manufacturing platform, which spans domestic offset assets, digital capabilities and overseas manufacturing options, assists in helping our customers maintain tighter controls while, at the same time, offering the ability to deliver product quickly when demand spikes," he says.
Many clients in religious, juvenile and education sectors availed themselves of RR Donnelley's Asia platform. "Publishers in each segment continue to see advantages in managing their supply chain using a more global model," McCree notes. "With the ability to take advantage of different geographies and the ability to react quickly with U.S. assets when needed, RR Donnelley continues to be well-positioned to serve our customers' needs."