Today's Retail Scene: Are You Prepared to Compete?
The Need for Flexibility
The need for marketing flexibility mirrors trends across the entire publishing landscape, as rapid technological changes and multiplatform functionality have altered the very dynamic of the book business. “Clearly, flexibility is really the trend,” notes David “Skip” Prichard, president and CEO of the recently formed Ingram Content Group Inc. “This can be flexibility in format, in [regard to] the channel [that] publishers want to release content in, or even financial flexibility, the ability to make decisions to employ capital in different ways.”
Prichard compares the suite of options available today to a menu where printing, distribution and marketing services can be matched to specific project strategies. Given the uncertainty surrounding newer platforms, devices and sales trends, publishers need solutions that allow them to react quickly as market situations evolve, he says.
The creation of the Ingram Content Group itself resulted from a major Ingram reorganization designed, in part, to help facilitate multichannel distribution for clients. “Before,” Prichard says, “you would talk to Ingram Book Group, go over to Ingram Digital, then to the library group, the marketing agency—now we’re organized so it all falls under content organization, so we can help you however you want to get that book out.”
Smaller distributors also have recognized the need to offer integrated services. NBN recently launched NBN Fusion, a digital e-book distribution and conversion service that includes production and manufacturing services, print-on-demand (POD) and digital short-run.
The days of estimating how many books a publisher should sell and then printing 10 percent or 15 percent above that are gone, says Marianne Bohr, senior vice president at NBN. “You’ve got to figure out, ‘Should I do the book in print, should I do it in print and electronically, should I only print the book if we have demand … or maybe we just do a digital short run of 300 copies?’ Right now those answers are not really definitive.”