There's Growth in Them There Stacks
Samtani's company developed the Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML) to provide a consistent method for securely managing digital content, and has licensed the technology to a number of companies including Microsoft and Zinio Systems.
Though XrML is supported by the Open eBook Rights and Rules Working Group and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), 2005 will see momentum growing only slowly. "We'll likely have a period of more chaos," until publishers realize that working together is needed to grow the e-book market, Samtani says.
Addition by Subtraction
The book publishing industry will continue to enhance profitability by reducing costs by taking advantage of advances in technology and the use of foreign workers. Digital workflow applications and advances in global communications will enable companies to narrow expenditures by accessing less-expensive labor in Asia, according to Banta's Mead. He says domestic printers will also slash costs through the "continued acceptance and expansion of foreign sourcing for non-time-sensitive print production and foreign manufactured paper."
The same applications that are now allowing editors and graphic artists to work from home will also be used to interact with workers many miles and time zones away. "The trend (toward foreign sourcing) has significantly impacted many print sectors in the U.S. that specialize in highly decorated or high-quality process-color product suited to sheetfed printing," according to Mead. He says, "Shorter runs that fit the color sheetfed sweet spot of many Asian printers are increasingly at risk, and [the risks are] being felt hard by U.S. printers."
Once these foreign-based facilities and workflow systems are more established, they will be well-suited to producing regional versions of books for the international market, which industry insiders suggest will likely see growth in 2005 as well.
While 2005 may or may not be a breakout year for book publishing, companies that embrace digital printing and automated workflow systems could be positioning themselves for prosperity for the remainder of the decade. Thinking small (as in shorter runs) could provide the best opportunities for versatile publishers.
- Association of American Publishers
- Banta Book Group
- Banta Corp.
- ColorCentric Corp.
- Eastman Kodak, Kodak Versamark
- IBM Corporation
- InfoTrends / CAP Ventures
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Managing Editor Inc.
- Microsoft Corp.
- Muller Martini
- On Demand Machinery LLC
- People Magazine
- Quark Inc.
- WoodWing Software
- Xerox Corp.