A new distribution services model will integrate Ingram Content Group Inc.'s print on demand (POD) and fulfillment capability with Macmillan's publishing program.
As digital books continue to gain market share, one of the country's oldest mass paperback publishers is abandoning its traditional print books and making its titles available in digital format and print-on-demand only.
Once upon a time, there was the hardcover book, which was generally the only book format for about 500 years. Then, the mass-market paperback format was pioneered by German publisher Albatross Books in 1931. British publisher Allen Lane launched Penguin Books in 1935 with 10 reprint titles. Robert de Graaf, in 1939, issued a similar line in the United States, partnering with Simon & Schuster to create Pocket Books. The term "pocket book" became synonymous with paperback. Later, many publishers would offer paperback books, often published after the hardcover edition. They were 10 cents a copy when introduced and always less expensive than hardcovers. The low-priced, easily available book built the modern book industry.
Digital book printing overall is experiencing double-digital growth. The recession, although unwelcome in all quarters, has provided a boost to digital book manufacturing as publishers take a harder look at their processes and cut back on inventory and waste. Since digital printing market- and technology-research firm INTERQUEST's last major survey of the market, conducted in late 2007, the industry has seen widening adoption of digital book printing for short-run inventory management, and a growing interest in distribute-and-print to defray shipping costs and cut time to market—as shown in INTERQUEST's recent report, "Digital Book Printing: Market Analysis & Forecast (2010-2015)." A new generation of high-speed inkjet presses is also coming onto the market, promising lower cost, faster production speeds and higher print quality—all of which open the door a bit wider to digital book printing.
Short-run digital printing is unquestionably a technology whose time has arrived. Its quality and capabilities are improving steadily, and inline/near-line binding solutions promise to make an already capable technology even more so. Many digital printers' equipment and skills have improved to where we have moved away from the Henry Ford Model A approach to substrates ("any paper you want as long as it is (50) uncoated offset") to manufacturing of case-bound, four-color textbooks printed on (60) gloss coated stock.
Boulder, Colo., June 14, 2010—InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh, today announced that Frederic Printing, a Consolidated Graphics (NYSE:CGX) company in Aurora, Colo., has acquired the market-leading InfoPrint 5000 inkjet production system to enable the printing of high-quality print on-demand (POD) textbooks, direct mail pieces and election ballots.
Self-publishing and online services, e-books, and digital demand printing are joined into a new and powerful sector that is transforming the industry. For industry professionals whose career satisfactions and livelihoods are bonded to the future of the book, this new sector offers a wild ride and a venturesome future.