SPONSORED CONTENT: Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You
Shorter Runs/Fewer Returns: Publishers can limit or even curtail the number of books returned by book stores. Already some all-digital publishers that produce books on demand have no-return policies.
Better Quality/More Opportunity: Both monochrome and color digital quality has dramatically improved over the past few years making a broader range of titles suitable for digital production. Reliable color and black-and-white digital presses, a broad range of substrates (many of which are the equivalent of offset papers), and comprehensive finishing solutions can provide top quality books that are virtually indistinguishable from offset versions.
The New Value Chain
Such choices do more than pique the interest of publishers. They ultimately change the entire value chain for every player involved with creating, publishing, printing, distributing and selling books. Digital book production is not merely a different way to produce a book--it changes everything to do with the book business.
Traditional printers and publishers can implement hybrid digital and offset systems to support the long runs of their best-selling titles while more cost-effectively producing the works of lower volume authors. For example, as demand for a leading title declines, production can shift to digital presses, helping control inventory and production costs. A title originally produced digitally that becomes a strong seller can be switched to offset as demand increases. By leveraging the advantages of hybrid systems publishers can manage costs effectively without limiting the range of titles available.
Small publishers are increasing in number, taking advantage of digital printing technologies to bring new authors to market at a lower cost and with less risk. According to data from Bowker, the number of publishers swelled to over 78,000 through 2004, more than double the number two decades earlier. Many of these are entirely digital or use the technology to bolster their business model. Some, like iUniverse or Lulu.com produce books only on demand splitting the profits with the authors and printers.
Greg Cholmondeley is president of Cholmonco Inc. Cholmonco is a technology marketing consulting company that researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions. Cholmondeley is especially interested in how industry leaders efficiently get work through digital printing and marketing services operations. He has also written two fictional novels. The first is titled “Nakiwulo and the Circle of Shiva” and the second is called “Princess.” You can learn more about his consulting practice and read more of his blogs at www.cholmonco.com. You can discover his books at http://books.cholmonco.com.