Q&A With Courier VP Michael Shea
The December Issue Book Business featured the re-launch of the Top 20 Book Manufacturers, a ranking that lists the largest book manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada by revenue. To accompany that ranking, we interviewed top printing executives to find out how the printing industry has changed and the issues they think publishers should be most mindful of in the future. Printing experts shared insights on digital printing, minimizing supply chain costs, and integrating publisher and printer systems. The Q&As we published in the December issue were just snapshots, but following you'll find the full-length interview with Michael Shea, VP of Courier Corporation.
What are some of the trends that you've seen emerge in book printing over the past few years?
It's kind of interesting. There has been so much talk about everything going digital, particularly in the textbook market. Textbooks are an area of focus and expertise for us. For years publishers have said that we're going to digital delivery, the book is going away, but we've printed more books last year than we ever have. The K-12 market had a great recovery last year. We had some modest growth in higher ed as well. We're expecting another big year next year.
Despite the talk in the media about going digital, print still remains very strong. Having said that, I understand that there will be a move to digital and that there will be more content delivered digitally. What we're seeing and what we think will be a very successful model is more of a hybrid approach. Content that belongs in digital format -- video, animation, assessment -- will be in digital, but there are a lot of core material that studies are showing are better digested by students in print. There are many studies being published now indicating that print is a great medium for a lot of educational material.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.