Digital Full Color Opens New Book Markets
While digital toner and inkjet based color has been available for years, Lightning Source’s announcement at Book Expo America of its four-color one-off production line exponentially expands the base for untapped publishing business opportunities for mid-range, independent and high-end publishers. It also shines the light on the transformation of manufacturing business models in the past 10 years, providing a price-list-based, sophisticated manufacturing service that simplifies the supply chain process without sacrificing quality controls.
Buying color in Asia or Europe in sufficient quantities to bring the unit cost down and allowing for the weeks of turnaround time need no longer be a barrier to the marketing of color books.
The Digital Color Promise
It was the promise of the stunning Xerox iGen-3 digital color press output that blew me away at this March’s Book Business Expo. (Lightning Source tested and is using the HP Indigo color press for its service.) iGen’s sharp-quality four-color reproduction convinced me that new publishing options will now dramatically expand such genres as the low page-count, high-end illustrated coffee table book, the conventional 32-page children’s four-color, flat-back and the typical museum and exhibition catalog. Textbook and scientific publishers also have new customizing options that should revitalize their lists as the technology shakes out costs.
Sophisticated color buyers will want to check out the variables in the different imaging and press technologies being offered, but the bottom line is that superior outcomes at commercially acceptable prices are now available.
To check out what was happening before Book Expo, I visited two major one-off and demand-printing digital printers: ColorCentric in Rochester, N.Y. (www.ColorCentric.com) and Integrated Book Technology (IBT) in Troy, N.Y. (www.IntergratedBook.com). A few years back, I had visited the LaVergne, Tenn., Lightning Source (www.LightingSource.com) plant, the industry giant in production-run book-at-a-time printing, and visited the company’s booth for an update at Book Expo. These visits provided a handle on the upcoming explosion of digital four-color production. They provided insight into how this new and as yet unnamed channel of digital demand manufacturing is both accommodating and shaping business and supply chain model.
- Author House
- Book Expo America
- Digital Pulp Publishing
- Edwards Brothers
- Fidlar Doubleday Inc.
- IBM Corporation
- Ingram Industries Inc.
- Integrated Book Technology
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Overdrive Inc.
- RR Donnelley
- Xerox Corp.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.