Top 30 Book Manufacturers
Have you seen any specific changes within the book manufacturing market over the past year?
Kevin J. Clarke: One of the things we’re seeing is … the continued modernization and re-capitalization of production assets, really based on several things. One, looking at where the market is headed, you have to have the horsepower to drive the huge books … the opportunity books that come about and have a potentially short lifespan. Second, [there is] a trend toward aggressive supply chain management, so you have a lot of smaller reprints. Much of the asset base is noncompetitive in the U.S. market for that type of trend, and that’s the reason we made our investments [in the company’s production assets]. The other thing we’re seeing is an impact on the U.S. market … with continued offshore manufacturing growth.
Jacques Gregoire: We’re seeing faster turnaround times and cycle times. We’re also seeing a lot more automation in prepress, and the use of a lot more digital and electronic communication on that side to shorten the cycle time. We have also seen a lot more use of the wider webs and more output per man per hour. … What’s happening is that when people have time, they … save money by going offshore. Those [publishers] who remain here typically are looking for much faster turnaround time and cycle time.
Julie A. McFarland: The interdependency of the firms involved in delivering books from concept to consumer was reinforced last year. We worked closely on financial terms with a number of customers who were severely impacted by the bankruptcy at [Advanced Marketing Services].
Tuck Krehbiel: The major changes within the book manufacturing market that we have identified over the past year or so include some growth in volume and a guarded confidence within the market as conditions are stable overall.