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?
Seagram: When I'm out with customers, I take the opportunity to talk about their business models. Print books are not going to go away. Publishers are saying that more and more now. They have a better sense of the reality. The drum beat of the media and e‑books is starting to die down.
When e-retailing really emerged and took a foothold in the '90s, the mantra then was that there wouldn't be any more catalogs. There's more now than ever. I think publishers are starting to understand a similarity here. We get it: Printed books are not going away. … But there's a relationship developing between e-content and physical content. It impacts the way customers interact with our product and ultimately how they purchase that.
I have optimism moving forward. Although it is uncomfortable for us to go through that, it's kind of fun to see how it's going to evolve. It's interesting to hear more and more publishers ask, "How can I put more value in the printed book? How do I give it more value?" You are seeing a desire by publishers to do more color or to design their covers differently. They're really looking at the printed book in a different way.
Beisser: Is there anything I didn't ask about that you feel is important to address?
Seagram: I urge publishers—big and small—to do what you need to do to protect the value of your content. Do not condition the market to think a different delivery system should be cheaper or that we'll be giving it away. Content is the asset that a publisher has. Undermining the value of that content, even with the convenience of electronic delivery, is not really serving anyone well. The market and the customer needs to understand this.
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