The Need For Speed
Publishers want faster turnaround--and printers know it.
By Rose Blessing
Today's book manufacturers are under the gun. Yes, publishers have always wanted faster turnaround for less money. What's new is that today's publishers not only want it; they demand it--and expect to get it.
And printers feel they have to provide it. As Bertelsmann's Wayne Taylor, president and CEO of Berryville Graphics, phrased it, "We are not in the book manufacturing business. We are in the publishing business. We have to be a partner with our publishing clients and give them what they want when they want it -- even if it means working over the weekends. " We realize that we are only as viable as the publishers."
That's not to say it's easy. "It changes the whole cost structure of our business," says Taylor.
In light of this trend, BookTech asked executives representing the largest book manufacturers to share perspectives and current strategies.
The Big Three
Donnelley, Quebecor and Banta share many commonalities
All produce books in multiple fields that typically include consumer, education, juvenile, trade, religious and professional, in one- to multi-color formats, with a variety of binding methods.
Their book divisions can draw on the resources of a parent corporation, which has commercial and magazine printing divisions and other business units.
Each acknowledges the need for fast-turnaround and has moved forward with prepress advancements such as computer-to-plate (CTP) printing, telecommunications, use of PDF files, CD-ROM and Internet publishing and digital short-run printing.
At R. R. Donnelley, John Conley, vice president of strategy and new business development, notes that publishers' "increased focus on inventory management and speed to market impacts every decision we make now," he says, adding: "Turnaround times are much shorter; average counts are going down as publishers try to print more to demand and not have to speculate as much. That affects the way you build any manufacturing solution."