There's Growth in Them There Stacks
Digital printers will complement, not replace offset printers, according to Hamilton. While offset will remain the dominant print method, digital printing will grow in importance for "end-of-life titles, university press, and print-on-demand," Hamilton says.
Publishers will print on-demand with digital technology more frequently to reduce the risk and cost of large-volume printing for unproven authors and secondary runs. Sensitivity to the cost of returns and warehousing fees will prompt publishers to rely on short runs more than ever before in 2005.
Interest in print-on-demand could either surge or be potentially hindered, depending on the results of an ongoing legal dispute, says Hamilton. In March 2004, On Demand Machinery Corp. successfully sued Amazon.com and Ingram Industries' subsidiary Lightning Source for infringing on its patent for a system of manufacturing single books, essentially what is known as print-on-demand. Critics suggest that the patent should not have been granted in the first place, as it protects a broad print-on-demand concept, not an invention.
The two companies appealed the verdict, and should the patent be overturned, the print-on-demand market could greatly expand. Conversely, if the appeal is denied and On Demand Machinery Corp. establishes a sizable licensing fee for use of its patented on-demand system, interest in print-on-demand could take a big hit.
Author, Publish Thyself
Digital printing will drive interest in self-publishing in 2005 as production costs have dropped to as low as $3 to $5 for a short-run paperback. Companies including Lulu.com, iUniverse, Booksurge, and ColorCentric Corp. believe that enabling individuals to affordably publish up to a few hundred copies of their work could become a sizeable market in aggregate.
John Lacagnina, president and CEO of ColorCentric Corp., says that 450,000 manuscripts created each year go unpublished. "If we print 20 to 100 of each of these, that's a lot of books per year," he says.
- Association of American Publishers
- Banta Book Group
- Banta Corp.
- ColorCentric Corp.
- Eastman Kodak, Kodak Versamark
- IBM Corporation
- InfoTrends / CAP Ventures
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Managing Editor Inc.
- Microsoft Corp.
- Muller Martini
- On Demand Machinery LLC
- People Magazine
- Quark Inc.
- WoodWing Software
- Xerox Corp.