Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Many of those products and services are new to us over the last few years; It's a really high-cost area. Retail-driven print-on-demand (POD) is a large area of opportunity and growth. Short-run digital fulfillment. E‑books and the whole workflow around XML, and the management of e‑books and print. The challenge is developing and launching those things. That's where the industry is moving, and that's where we see the opportunity.
I think as much as things change, some things are very much the same. What I hear day-in and day-out, as much as the industry is focused on e‑books and XML, publishers still want really high-quality books. They want them fast. Make the experience feel good. If we don't do those things, we get pinged.
Beisser: Have you made significant changes to increase your value to publishers or to address trends you are seeing?
Spall: Once we get beyond some of the trends, I point to the one-stop shop. Having one customer service representative and one invoice process is one trend. The ability to do offset-first print, and do that short-run, and drop that into a POD. That combination of offset and digital to produce a book from initial printing to subsequent reprints. E‑books, to a certain extent, are starting to grow. I think those classic expectations will always be in demand, so we're not taking our eye off the ball. Make a great-looking book and make it fast. I think that that demand has gotten more aggressive in the last few years.
We're working [with] some publishers and partners to develop an XML-first workflow, so we can bring XML capabilities to our publishers so they can … push that out to print in the form of a PDF for any number of e‑book formats.
Beisser: What are some of the trends you are seeing among your publishing customers?
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