Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Beisser: What can you say to publishers about maximizing their relationships with their book manufacturing partners?
Twomey: Opportunities abound for domestic printers who can offer full service and rapid turn times in digital, conventional and e‑book formats. … Publishers should expect their printer to be a part of meeting these many challenges. Printers should be partnering with book publishers to better bundle print and digital formats. POD capacity will allow publishers to economically print smaller and more frequent reprint orders. They also allow publishers to launch targeted, niche books that were not economic conventionally. The loss of Borders stores is likely to be offset by some new entrants and by book offerings in non-conventional locations.
Beisser: Is there anything I didn't ask about that you feel is important to address?
Twomey: Book imports appear to have flattened as Chinese prices rise, as turn times shorten and as concerns about sound environmental and safety policies make domestic production more attractive.
President/COO • The Sheridan Group, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Peter Beisser: What is your company's biggest challenge today?
Mike Seagram: [Publishers are] feeling more pressure to balance margins. They're facing the growing influence of e‑books. It's really throwing their business model into chaos. … If I talk to 40 customers, I get 40 variations of the new business model from publishers. This is a business that historically has been about old, unchanging technology. The last decade has been warp speed in comparison. Our challenge is to put the right structure around it and meet the changing needs of our publisher and, in some cases, lead them to the right answers.
Beisser: What is your biggest opportunity going forward?
Seagram: The fact of the matter is that not all printers will survive the revolution. Those that do [will] do so because of evolution—if they do it in the right way. Staying relevant as a publishing partner—it's what's really driving our investments. Ink jet and content technology. Increased four-color printing. Alliances with offshore partners to provide seamless print and digital options. Those are all the kinds of things that when we looked at our business we asked, "What would make us viable?" That's what we needed to provide. All of these changes provide a lot of opportunity. We have more and more publishers that say we can't work with you in the future unless you provide it all.
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