The Publisher's Inquisition
Finding the right book printer for a job is never easy. One printer is the most efficient, one provides great service, another offers the best price. Which do you choose?
Today printers offer more services to differentiate themselves from competitors. When they include file setup collaboration and bundled fulfillment in their quotation, buyers get more than a competitive price.
They get a cost-effective business arrangement. More publishers are now selecting printers based on a careful analysis of manufacturing costs. They're calculating through the entire manufacturing channel, and across manufacturing partners.
This "one-stop-shop" approach is cost effective, because the printer leverages its resources to deliver the best overall cost, versus only quoting print and bind unit costs.
Another approach is to break projects down into their discrete components, and source the best price among vendors specializing in specific parts of the process. The end result is always the same: the best job at the right price.
Another issue beyond cost is finding a manufacturer that understands your business. Ask the following questions when selecting a printer:
• Does the printer watch your market?
• How flexible is the printer?
• Will the printer review the job to improve performance?
• What are his sales and customer service models?
Asking these questions up front improves performance, builds relationships and avoids surprises. A buyer should also consider the add-ons offered, in addition to the manufacturing price.
These include knowing what value-added services the printer offers to grow your publishing business. And see if the printer offers workflow support, such as file processing, archiving, digital printing and distribution.
Getting early answers to these questions improves the process of selecting the right printer for your next book production project.
Kevin Spall (Kevin.Spall@RRD.com) is director of solutions development for the Book Publishing Group of R.R. & Donnelley Sons, in New York.