Digital Full Color Opens New Book Markets
Supply Chain Links
There are, of course other digital book printers ready to enhance the publishing supply chain, including Deharts (www.Deharts.com) and Fidlar-Doubleday (www.FidlarDoubleday.com). There are also traditional printers ranging from short-run pioneer Edwards Brothers (www.EdwardsBrothers.com) to mega-printer RR Donnelley (www.RRDonnelly.com) that integrate digital services. It is also possible for a publisher to operate its own digital facility, as is true of Infinity Press (www.InfinityPublishing.com), an author-publisher partnership enterprise.
All, of course, provide four-color cover work—either in toner or conventional offset ink mode. Pack and ship to the consumer for one-offs, or to the retailer or cataloger for multiple copies, is standard. These services increasingly are reducing the double handling and space requirements for traditional warehousing, as well as the investment cost and attrition in inventory.
A sidebar to the print-on-demand manufacturing and fulfillment model is archiving PDF or XML files ready for e-book delivery. There’s also the reverse of linking electronic book publishing archives—such as Overdrive’s ContentReserve (www.Overdrive.com)—to print-on-demand manufacturers, or preparing PDF files for NetLibrary (www.NetLibrary.com) that can also be used to drive print-on-demand.
E-book sales potential is very opportunistic, especially in fiction and non-fiction trade books and in the portability of frequently used reference books or manuals. While the revenue may be marginal, creating electronic files up front that can be used for both iPod and e-book distribution should be standard practice. Having e-Book formats available for online retailers such as Amazon (www.Amazon.com), Fiction-Wise (www.FictionWise.com), Cyber-Read (www.CyberRead.com), or, the new kid on the block, Digital Pulp Publishing (www.DigitalPulpPublishing.com) can result at least in steady unanticipated lunch money if not significantly more—and enable inclusion in the growth of e-book collections packaged for libraries by e-book aggregators.
The Big Digital Picture
In the 360-degree view, the digital, on-demand production of four-color books will enlarge the base of editorially savvy independent and niche publishers that are able to deliver color products to their markets.
- 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.