Top Book Manufacturers: Printers Adapt by Following the Market
"It's interesting because the change has been, where some publishers used to go to Asia and across the ocean, all of a sudden now we see that more and more publishers, because of this speed to market, are finding that printing back here in North America is cost effective even if there is a little bit of a price premium," Jensen says. "For books that aren't time sensitive, Asia is still a good opportunity for [publishers], but for books that tend to be reprints or more significant as far as the timing of the events—really that premium is not worth it anymore. It's better to have it done here and get it to market quicker."
A trend away from outsourcing has been an unexpected and welcome byproduct of recent technological and global trends, to the extent that CJK is seeing significant growth in an unexpected area: in-house mailing.
"The outsourcing trend has reversed a little bit," says Krehbiel. "Costs have gone up overseas. Ten years ago, there was almost no outsourcing; then, publishers went aggressively for it, and now some of that work is coming back. For us, it's a nice trend."
This is especially significant given that CJK specializes in four-color jobs, in recent years a preferred candidate for overseas work.
"We've been seeing, as costs offshore have gone up, there is a little bit of relative interest in bringing that product back and producing it domestically," agrees Spall, "because cost savings are not as significant, particularly when going through brokers offshore. Plus, the time to produce is still months, whereas we are producing product in days and weeks."
Spall says the work Thomson-Shore is luring back includes color books and Bibles, lightweight titles that can be turned around in two to three weeks compared to six months in Asia. "We're talking smaller quantities [in many cases], but maybe they will do a first printing here and bide their time, wait six months to go offshore."