Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Beisser: Do you offer e‑book conversion, have you partnered with a conversion service, or do you plan to in the near future?
Seagram: We can't pretend it's not happening. We're not going to run in the other direction. We're going to embrace it. We've invested millions of dollars that includes a tech lab in our corporate office. We have people doing research and development on new e-content, from mobile apps to e-store environments for our customers.
We've been just growing every single month with new customers and existing customers. It's surprising to some of them that a printer has invested as heavily as we have, but when we get in discussions with them, it makes sense to them. We're already handling their print flow. It's a natural extension for us to provide e-content for them, as well. It's been huge for us. It puts us in a different conversation with our customers.
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?
Seagram: We're investing in our first digital platform with a digital ink jet press, which is very responsive to our publishers' needs to not only have a POD option, but extend that to more mid-range print runs to have the benefits of reducing inventory and managing costs. An ink jet will be able to print longer runs.
Sheridan Press [a division of the Sheridan Group focused on journal production] has a robust digital toner. They're a source for short-run and digital printing. They'll be installing digital case binding this summer, as well. They'll be able to do our POD, but for us, because we didn't have a digital capability, it's been small. Some of our publishers have gone completely digital. In the past that's been a problem. We have shifted a lot of our investment focus from heavy equipment to other things that are software that automates our front-end process. That's where we have the greatest opportunities to reduce cycle time. … We're a little late in the game to the digital front. We're not unhappy about that at all. I'm much more excited with investing in digital ink jet instead of toner tech. I'm glad we waited in that regard. One reason we delayed was because we invested in four-color technology.
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