The Top 30 Book Manufacturers
Over the past year, what were the major trends or shifts in the book-manufacturing market?
John Edwards: We have seen intense pressure on price, more than ever. We have to be better at lowering costs, and that is a primary focus at Edwards Brothers. We will be able to lower costs through better use of technology, equipment, methods and management systems.
Also, [there should be] an increased awareness of the cost of inventory, [as] more publishers are taking a closer look at total cost of manufacturing, and that is a good thing. By looking at the total cost of manufacturing, real opportunity exists to lower costs. With a focus on printing “just-in-time” inventory, not “just-in-case” inventory.
Curwin Friesen: We continue to see a move to shorter runs. This trend is not new, but it is accelerating and changing the way we need to respond to the needs of publishers. Today, we see it in the number and frequency of orders we manage. This trend adds to the complexity of book manufacturing and publishing, as many more projects need to be monitored on a weekly basis.
Another major development is in color management. The tools to achieve this long sought-after goal for printers have matured, and we are now beginning to see the tangible benefits of color management from file creation through proofing and then to the final printed product. This development will be very useful in dealing with faster turns and more projects.
Dave Liess: Print runs have been steadily decreasing, run frequencies have been steadily increasing, [and] turn times have also been tightened.
Charles Nason: The single biggest shift we have seen is the increase in demand and interest from publishers in having a “green option” for production of their books. The initial push for environmentally friendly papers and materials came from the special-interest organizations dealing with the environment. That movement has successfully embedded itself within the publishing industry and now into the manufacturing sector. There is a cost involved in doing this, and we still do not have a handle on how much will be done once the understanding of true costs filters through the system. …