Digital Full Color Opens New Book Markets
Recently acquired and integrated into Amazon.com’s online book-selling portal, Book Surge (www.BookSurge.com) has been offering four color for some time through its author and publisher services program, although it hadn’t released information about its press technologies at press time.
Significant for traditional book manufacturers is the new manufacturer/distributor business and customer service model being offered by the digital-demand printing sector of the industry.
First, the headline is that it is now possible to deliver a one-off finished book at a manufacturing cost of 25 percent to 50 percent of an acceptable list price. My guess is that as the page count rises beyond 200 pages this will be less likely for all but the most top-of-the-line pictorials. However, even if the margin is not enough to support a conventional wholesale/retail discount scale, the opportunity to do sampling up front and direct sales of low quantities at the tail end opens the door to new opportunities.
Second is the impact on business models. The digital plants I reviewed each build customer relationships on different models. All of them, incidentally, also service the author-driven aggregators such as iUniverse (www.iUniverse.com), Author House (www.AuthorHouse.com), Lulu (www.Lulu.com) and xLibris (www.xLibris.com)—author-publisher partnerships who collectively generate scores of thousands of new titles annually.
Behind the Scenes at Digital Manufacturers
Lightning Source, a subsidiary of Ingram Industries Inc. with 356,000 unique titles in its archives and the ability to turn around as many as 44,000 jobs a day, is uniquely equipped to handle one-offs for a large number of accounts. The company’s seven or more lines of sheetfed Xerox Docutechs, IBM web and Océ presses operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With its link to Ingram’s wholesale and publishing services resources, it offers “in-stock” listings and retail distribution, direct shipping and links to long-run requirements. It also has a UK affiliate.
- 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.