Q&A with Worzalla President & CEO Jim Fetherston
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 Jim Fetherston, president and CEO of Worzalla.
What are some of the changes or trends you've seen emerge in the book printing market over the past year?
Two trends really stand out. The most favorable is the steady and significant increase in demand we've experienced throughout 2014. We are back to pre-economic downturn production levels.
The other is the sustained push for a reduction in cycle time. This is being driven by increased demand and the need to keep product in the supply chain while keeping a lid on inventory costs.
What important trends do you see on the horizon?
Embellishing books with more and more cover treatments, and not just visible decoration, but tactile upgrades as well. The old adage you can't judge a book by its cover may be true, but the cover certainly does help sell the book.
Another key trend we see for the printed book is longevity. The physical book will have to be tough enough to last on the shelf for an extended period of time.
Have you been particularly impressed by specific strategies any of your customers have employed to grow their print revenues?
We've seen a growing shift towards valuing total book cost (printing, distribution, inventory, etc.) over simple unit cost. Buying decisions are being based on this criterion as it can raise the publisher's revenue and at the same time reduce overall costs. It has resulted in bringing titles back for domestic production that previously would have been printed in Asia.
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.