Once upon a time, there was the hardcover book, which was generally the only book format for about 500 years. Then, the mass-market paperback format was pioneered by German publisher Albatross Books in 1931. British publisher Allen Lane launched Penguin Books in 1935 with 10 reprint titles. Robert de Graaf, in 1939, issued a similar line in the United States, partnering with Simon & Schuster to create Pocket Books. The term "pocket book" became synonymous with paperback. Later, many publishers would offer paperback books, often published after the hardcover edition. They were 10 cents a copy when introduced and always less expensive than hardcovers. The low-priced, easily available book built the modern book industry.
Digital book printing overall is experiencing double-digital growth. The recession, although unwelcome in all quarters, has provided a boost to digital book manufacturing as publishers take a harder look at their processes and cut back on inventory and waste. Since digital printing market- and technology-research firm INTERQUEST's last major survey of the market, conducted in late 2007, the industry has seen widening adoption of digital book printing for short-run inventory management, and a growing interest in distribute-and-print to defray shipping costs and cut time to market—as shown in INTERQUEST's recent report, "Digital Book Printing: Market Analysis & Forecast (2010-2015)." A new generation of high-speed inkjet presses is also coming onto the market, promising lower cost, faster production speeds and higher print quality—all of which open the door a bit wider to digital book printing.
Short-run digital printing is unquestionably a technology whose time has arrived. Its quality and capabilities are improving steadily, and inline/near-line binding solutions promise to make an already capable technology even more so. Many digital printers' equipment and skills have improved to where we have moved away from the Henry Ford Model A approach to substrates ("any paper you want as long as it is (50) uncoated offset") to manufacturing of case-bound, four-color textbooks printed on (60) gloss coated stock.
Boulder, Colo., June 14, 2010—InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh, today announced that Frederic Printing, a Consolidated Graphics (NYSE:CGX) company in Aurora, Colo., has acquired the market-leading InfoPrint 5000 inkjet production system to enable the printing of high-quality print on-demand (POD) textbooks, direct mail pieces and election ballots.
Self-publishing and online services, e-books, and digital demand printing are joined into a new and powerful sector that is transforming the industry. For industry professionals whose career satisfactions and livelihoods are bonded to the future of the book, this new sector offers a wild ride and a venturesome future.
On the one hand, Penguin (PSO) has many reasons to feel good right now. A preliminary first-quarter earnings report released by its parent company, Pearson, pointed to the Big Six book publisher's "good start to the year" in the U.S. and the U.K., and noted that "growth in demand for eBooks also remains very strong." Meanwhile, Penguin and Apple (AAPL) have begun what appears to be a beautiful friendship, and other online retailers appear to be ready to sell the company's e-books again after a protracted delay.
Perspectives on the shifting publishing marketplace, and threats and opportunities surfacing as a result, seem almost to have divided the industry. Some see print as holding fast as the primary bread-and-butter for publishers, with e-books and other digital products growing, but remaining as incremental revenue. Others see the current growth in e-book and new digital reading devices, and a younger generation of digital-bred readers pointing toward a future where "e" will be the primary revenue driver in most publishing businesses.
Check out the video highlights from the 2010 Publishing Business Conference & Expo, featuring comments from conference chairs Chris Foster, President & COO, GIE Media; Samir Husni, aka "Mr. Magazine" and founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center; and Clint Greenleaf, president and CEO, Greenleaf Book Group, as well as from other attendees.
Open-source college textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge has announced agreements with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and NACS Media Solutions (NMS) to distribute its textbooks to more than 3,000 college bookstores in their respective networks for the 2010 fall semester.
1 Year The contract term for which best-selling author Gavin de Becker's expanded and updated e-editions of two of his books, "The Gift of Fear" and "Just 2 Seconds," will be available exclusively in Amazon's Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore). This is the first time "The Gift of Fear" has been available electronically, and both books will be exclusive to the Kindle Store for one year.