The Printers' Evolution
BB: How have changes to distribution/the book retail market affected your business?
Spall: I think this is a tremendous development for our industry. What we see is that there is growing demand for direct-to-consumer distribution. Print-on-demand or print-to-order distribution will continue to grow as a percentage of sales, and this means that those who can cost-effectively produce and ship a single copy of a book will be well-positioned to meet the demand. There is a tremendous amount of technology involved to make this happen quickly and without error. The cost to enter is not to be taken lightly, but once a workflow is established it is a wonderful process for publishers to use. As Amazon, Google and B&N.com grow as a percentage of distribution for books, this will only increase the amount of effort put into creating a streamlined flow from order to distribution of a single book. As manufacturers, I think this will ultimately be a preferred method of producing, and it will create tremendous value for publishers in the form of speed to market and reducing cost to inventory—both very important in a lean and competitive economy.
Skip Prichard, President and CEO, Ingram Content Group
Ingram has expanded beyond its traditional book distribution role in recent years, becoming a provider of short-run digital printing. Its well-established distribution infrastructure has facilitated a distinctive approach to integrating digital print services.
BB: What does it mean to be a multiplatform printing services company today?
Prichard: … As publishers make decisions about how to invest in digital publishing and distribution, they are now having to make choices about digital content development versus physical distribution improvements. With print-on-demand, publishers are realizing cost savings and efficiencies through the elimination of warehousing, shipping, printing massive quantities of books and pulping. Ingram's Lightning Source offers not just a print solution, but a total inventory management solution to handle the print side of a publisher's business. Similar benefits can be realized for digital distribution for publishers' content through our CoreSource digital products suite.