A Textbook Case
It's no wonder many classrooms have textbooks over 10 years old, while others don't even have enough textbooks of any vintage to equip all their students. And yet, despite economic constraints, states are demanding more customized textbook products.
Not just workbooks. Not just teacher's editions for the largest adoption states. Nearly 20 states now require textbook products specific to their curriculums. Publishers must invest liberally to develop customized programs for each curriculum area.
Customized textbooks require advanced publishing skills on the part of the publisher, advanced prepress skills on the part of the printer, and advanced digital versioning technology all around.
Multiple customized layers must be added to base textbook files, like building blocks. These layers are turned on or off, depending on which version of a book is being printed. There can be over 20 layers to each page of a base file, making customized textbook publishing a potentially monumental task.
Indeed, a successful reading program can cost a publisher $60 million or more to develop. And when a state delays adoption calls, the affect on publishers' balance sheets can be immediate and devastating.
It's a conundrum for modern textbook publishers who demand price, quality, and service to remain competitive in a harsh marketplace.
Clearly textbook publishers and printers must work together far more closely than ever before, to ensure a seamless and error-free production workflow. As such, print buyers today must continually reevaluate their choice of printers.
For an educational publisher, this means working with printers that understand and are well positioned to meet the unique demands of state textbook adoptions.
Some questions to ask of your current printers: Can they deal with multiple versions of a textbook? Are they well versed in Manufacturing Standards and Specifications for Textbooks (MSST), the guidelines established to meet all National Association of State Textbook Administrators (NASTA) requirements? MSST establishes minimum standards for areas such as paper, binding, board, and cover coatings.