Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Beisser: How much of your business is digital printing, and do you see that changing?
Mead: A substantial part of our business is supported with our digital printing and binding platform. This is a high-focus area as press manufacturers' capabilities improve and the demands of our customers are best served by digital products.
Beisser: Do you offer e‑book conversion, have you partnered with a conversion service, or do you plan to in the near future?
Mead: We have the capability today for e‑book conversion and currently offer this solution to many of our customers.
Beisser: Have you invested in new equipment? If so, when, what kind and why?
Mead: The acquisition of IPC Print Services in December 2010 was a major investment. However, we constantly invest in technology, customer support and core manufacturing.
Beisser: What is your five- to 10-year outlook given the growth in e‑book sales and publishers' focus on inventory management and short-run printing? Are you planning changes to reflect current market shifts like these?
Mead: Yes, our focus is to deliver the best customer experience, regardless of the market we serve. Our innovation and product management functions are constantly looking ahead to design and deliver products that are desired by the market. In fact, our Innovation Group is dedicated to researching and developing ground-breaking products. … We have a consistently high customer-retention rate that reflects our ability to adapt to market forces and deliver on customer expectations. This business base allows Walsworth to explore additional capabilities within comparable vertical markets and to broaden our products within our customer base.
Beisser: What can you say to publishers about maximizing their relationships with their book manufacturing partners?
Mead: Look at who you're partnering with. Look at the big picture. Who can you partner with to stay successful into the future? It seems a lot of publishers are looking at the very, very short term, and will hop from printer to printer. It's always happened. You'll find loyalty if you build a partnership. We have a lot of customers that have been with us for a long time.
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