Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Spall: What's a little bit tiring to me, is that, as an industry, we've been talking so much about e‑books. … I fear that we've spent all that time at the expense of the product that's been viable for hundreds of years and has gotten us to where we're at. How do you make a physical book relevant in a society that wants instant gratification? Elevating the book as a place for a reader to go calm themselves and think deeply about a topic—that's really valuable as a society and as a culture. I think we should protect that. I'm worried as an industry; we're talking 80 percent of the time about product that drives 20 percent of revenue.
Vice President, Market Development • Quad/Graphics Inc., Sussex, Wis.
Peter Beisser: What is your company's biggest challenge today?
Sean Twomey: We, and the rest of the book industry, are challenged by major changes in the trade sales channels, as well as the continued pressures on state education budgets. Book printing units appear to be declining. Borders' demise eliminated a channel responsible for 15 percent of trade volumes in prior years. This loss and the 7-percent annual decline in independent bookstores over the past decade impacts sales volumes. While online sales continue to grow, both in print and e‑book forms, the online [sales] channel tends to favor the electronic format.
Beisser: What is the biggest opportunity?
Twomey: Quad/Graphics sees two major growth opportunities for the book business. We have increased our digital POD capacity by over 500 percent by installing one- and four-color digital capacity across our network. This enhances our ability to offer life-of-title support to publishers. Publishers have responded with new contractual volume commitments.
Second, we have offered e‑book conversion along with our print editions, so publishers have one point of contact for all the formats that their consumers –request.
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