15 Ways to Save Time and Money in Book Production
“[This] is where you get a bunch of savings,” says Brooks, who notes that simplifying book designs in this manner can decrease the cost per page from $8 to $12 to below $1.
Another successful strategy that Cengage has employed to trim costs is outsourcing, both domestically and off-shore, says Brooks. The education publisher has outsourced a range of duties, including composition, project management, permissions research, design and copy editing.
While “not a pain-free exercise,” says Brooks, outsourcing can be effective if you take the time to establish a good working relationship with the service provider as well as establish certain guidelines, including clearly communicating your expectations for a particular job.
Also, he advises, evaluate a specific job before outsourcing it to determine if it’s appropriate to send out. For example, a technical manuscript may be appropriate to send out for copy editing, while a more colloquial manuscript may be best served in-house. Keep in mind language and cultural differences when determining if a job is appropriate for outsourcing; you may even encounter such differences when using a domestic outsourcing service, as many of these firms send jobs off-shore themselves, notes Brooks.
Decreased Print Runs
Almost every production and manufacturing professional interviewed by Book Business mentioned decreasing initial print runs—and thus, a greater reliance on digital printing and print-on-demand (POD)—as a strategy that has led to both cost savings and better inventory management.
“We print more often [as a result of decreased initial print runs], but we are managing our inventory better,” says Litt. “With more new titles annually than ever, we find ourselves with less inventory on hand than in the pre-digital printing era. … Digital printers are competitive up to 1,000 copies. … We consider digital printers to be the best choice for those [books] with [a] short first printing and eventual transition to POD.”