The Printers' Evolution
… Being multiplatform also means we need to support the current and future needs of our customers in an increasingly nonprint world. That means leveraging our team to produce e-books from the same files we use to produce our physical books. It also means offering distribution capabilities, as necessary, to meet immediate demand on hot titles.
BB: How has the definition changed from what it was even a couple of years ago?
Spall: I think, today, being multiplatform means that we can support both physical and digital content needs for our customers. A couple of years ago, I think the definition was more about the footprint of print capabilities, and today it is about asking the question, "Do we have all of the products and services our customer needs to be successful in book publishing?" If the answer is "no," then we do the research … to determine what we need to develop, and we do it. I think, going forward, it will be about what we can do to produce content for our publishers and not about how many presses we do or don't have. At the end of the day, it is about helping our customer react quickly to market conditions, [and] having a bunch of heavy hardware may not be the best way to make that happen. It often is more about the variety of products and services you offer in order to get the job done.
BB: What new services are you offering book publishers that are most indicative of this change?
Spall: We have added a lot of new products and services just in the last couple of years as we develop our platform strategy. Some are easy extensions of our core print offering, such as four-color books across many genres such as children's books, cookbooks, travel guides and coffee-table books. We also introduced light-weight product support for the production of bibles and product manuals … [and] what I believe to be the highest quality digital print in the market.