Their Winning Ways
Our print runs currently do not go below 50 copies at a time. We warehouse these and handle order fulfillment to our customers along with the orders for other titles. The quality of halftone reproduction was initially an issue--and still is to some degree--but it has significantly improved over the years. My sense is that it will improve further as the technology develops. The holy grail is high-end quality with four-color process on coated stock for "ultra-short runs," which is what we prefer to call titles in this category.
To print covers on demand, you can either hedge your bets by printing additional covers with the first printing and storing them for possible subsequent use, or you can redesign the covers for the print-on-demand market.
What, in your opinion, is the "state-of-the-art" in on-demand printing? Do you see the big printers getting into it, or is it becoming a specialty service for companies solely dedicated to providing on-demand printing services?
Most of our print-on-demand titles are currently handled by companies specializing in this type of work, although several of the large book manufacturers have certainly made us aware of their intentions to enter this market. Many are also including order fulfillment from their plant to the publisher's customers.
As the equipment to handle this category of a publisher's manufacturing needs is improved even further, I can see print-on-demand manufacturing becoming one of the most competitive areas of the market.
And now, the inevitable question: How would you say book publishing is changing most, at least from your vantage point?
Unquestionably, the issue of electronic publishing is changing the whole landscape of our professional lives. We are being asked to deal with many unknowns, to make predictions and to invest in future scenarios of uncertain validity, because what we know today may not hold up tomorrow. But you have to aim at a moving target or be doomed for standing still.