The Printers' Evolution
So the message to publishers is basically [to] start with 5,000 and chase the demand. If you sell 10,000 units, well, that is great. However, if you sell less, and that happens more often than not, you minimize exposure and ultimately save cash.
That's a difficult thing to understand because you're basically saying pay more [per book] and spend less. But if you're only looking at manufacturing costs, you can make the right decision on print quantity/price for manufacturing, but the wrong decision for the company as a whole. The decision needs to reflect how the book sells and all associated costs to print, store and distribute. Looking at landed cost is key, and a CFO (who is responsible for all costs) is very important in looking at the publishers' total cost of doing business—which can mean print less, pay more per unit and spend less overall.
These are the hard questions we have to be asking ourselves. We do it ourselves, too, in terms of how we buy materials for our finished product. ... I think that applies to anyone in business right now.
Kevin Spall, President, Thomson-Shore Inc.
Thomson-Shore has made a number of strategic moves in recent years to move into digital and multiplatform printing, with an eye to the specific needs of a range of market segments.
BB: What does being a multiplatform printing services company mean?
Spall: Multiplatform to us means having a suite of products and services available for our customers to meet market demand and grow their businesses. We take a market-based view of development and build out our platform to support the needs of specific markets, and, of course, some products and services are leveraged for all markets. As an example, we might develop more digital print capabilities specifically for the university press market, as this set of customers is focused on cash flow and reduced run lengths, whereas in trade, we will develop a [short-run digital] ... to long-run offset solution, as generally in trade, the run counts are longer and require a low-cost unit price for run lengths into the thousands or tens of thousands.