Gene Therapy: Effective Digital Print Strategies
Ten years ago, digital, ondemand book printing officially burst upon the scene at Book-Expo America. With IBM’s roll-fed and Xerox’s sheet-fed equipment producing books on the show fl oor in Chicago, Ingram (then Lightning Print) and Bertelsmann (through OPM) invited the industry to get on board while the train was at the station.
Since then, Lighting Print has transformed into Lightning Source, a subsidiary of Ingram Industries and the nation’s largest 24/7 book-at-a-time printer. Book and journal manufacturer Edwards Brothers, which had also been operating a one-off DocuTech service for some years before 1998, has expanded its reach and now has seven satellite digital book centers, including one in the United Kingdom.
Other manufacturers, from RR Donnelley to Malloy and BookMasters, have incorporated digital print into their life-of-the-title offerings, although many book manufacturers continue to leave the field to digital book printers such as Lightning Source, IBT Global (the oldest in the business), DeHart’s, Fidlar Doubleday, BookSurge (now owned by Amazon.com Inc.) and ColorCentric.
An entire author-services publishing industry sector has emerged built on digital demand printing, including publishers such as Lulu.com, AuthorHouse, iUniverse (owned by AuthorHouse), BookSurge, Xlibris (owned by Random House) and Infinity Publishing. And, incidentally, because preparation of an electronic native file converted to PDF drives most printing lines, print-on-demand (POD) has, until recently, been primarily responsible for enabling more titles to become available for ebook distribution.
Overcoming Structural Barriers
There are a number of life-cycle benefits of digital print. They include prepublication distribution for sampling and reviews; sell-first, print-later demand publishing for titles selling in small quantities; filling orders for titles that are essentially “out of print” or for which reprints are delayed; and long-tail application—keeping titles in print indefinitely when sales fall below a certain level.
While many mid-range and smaller enterprise publishers have yet to fully execute the vision, virtually everyone has accepted digital as part of the available toolkit for print. The challenge is how to fully integrate the technology into the life cycle of title management.
- BookMasters Inc.
- Canon U.S.A. Inc.
- ColorCentric Corp.
- Continuum International Publishing Group
- Edwards Brothers
- Fidlar Doubleday Inc.
- Hewlett-Packard Co.
- IBM Corporation
- IBT Global
- Infoprint Solutions Co.
- Kodak Graphic Communications Group
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Malloy Inc.
- Nipson America
- Princeton University Press
- Ricoh Americas Corp.
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- RR Donnelley
- Xerox Corp.