The State of the Industry
For some, 2004 wasn't exactly easy on the blood pressure.
For others, some gains planted seeds of optimism for 2005. Meanwhile, new business models are emerging incorporating print-on-demand. New technologies are being sought out to streamline workflow and cut costs. Cross-media publishing is starting to feel somewhat like the Gold Rush. Paper prices are rising, and demand in some grades could get tight this year. And that's just the beginning.
The industry is also amidst a historic transition to a 13-digit ISBN number. E-books and handheld mobile devices are crossing the schoolyard and taking a seat in the classroom. Radio technology is paving a course to every book having a radio-transmitted identification tag. Products are for sale in international markets that provide consumers access to online books for a specified period of time. Production managers teeter between production and IT, and are even meandering into the marketing department.
This is all before you start to really examine the changes and challenges unique to each industry segment.
Medical publishers battle the Open Access proposal from the federal government and distribution challenges to boot. Educational publishers face significant changes (and opportunity) in the student population. University publishers have had to increasingly balance their nonprofit academic missions with the bottom line. Manufacturers continue to face price-gouging by a book publishing arena populated by a handful of mega-publishers that provide the bulk of the work for the manufacturing industry.
That's a lot to address, but to avoid painting a gloomy picture (no one likes change, right?), there are a lot of significant benefits coming out of this change-fest, and 2005 promises growth for many in the industry. To more accurately explain the details of the industry's current posture, BookTech Magazine decided to call on the experts—the leaders of well-respected institutions who not only witness the challenges and transitions in the industry, but actively work to prepare the industry's constituents for success.