Digital Full Color Opens New Book Markets
According to Kirby Best, Lightning Source president and CEO, sales to the “Big 10” in publishing grew from 20 percent to 59 percent of total sales in the last four years. This signals that mainstream publishing has integrated digital manufacturing into its supply chain. Now that the U.S. Court of Appeals has lifted the cloud hanging over digital book-at-a-time manufacturing and reversed the ruling against Lightning Source and Xerox in the On Demand Machine Corp. patent infringement suit, new investment and expansion capital is likely to fuel the growth of suppliers and capacity.
IBT was founded 15 years ago by John R. Paeglow III as possibly the earliest all-digital book printer. General Manager Don Gleason took me through the plant, which delivers more than 100 million pages a month and is growing at the rate of 20 percent a year.
The facility houses eight sheet-fed Xerox Docutech and two IBM web-fed production lines. It has installed the first of Xerox’s new high-resolution presses, the Nuvera, with which it intends in the coming year to replace its Docutech “fleet.” In addition to its UK plant, it is developing a global network of digital printing partners. Although it welcomes any publisher, it focuses on customers with evergreen short-run titles that print under-1,000 copy runs, and will provide one-offs at the beginning, middle or tail of the life cycle.
At the ColorCentric plant, I spent the morning with John Lacagnina, president and CEO. Lacagnina has been, since 2003, doubling his annual volume, running three Xerox iGen-3 and four Docutech production lines. Color Centric offers client portals online that enable a new title, revision or reorder to be posted electronically, with books leaving the warehouse to their destination untouched by human hands. All of the technologies are in place.
With an average print run of 1.7 books, ColorCentric’s three Xerox four-color iGen and four Docutech lines deliver a wide variety of one-off and short-run standard and custom formats, largely to trade aggregators such as Lulu, but also to retail clients with continuing production requirements. The quality of its four-color output is astonishing, some of it breathtaking. I saw work ranging from high-end catalogs and pictorials to customized photo albums with die-cut window covers done both for corporations and individuals.
- 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.