The Definition of Success
October 1, 2006

Merriam-Webster is a household name when it comes to dictionaries. In fact, its dictionary is said to be the second best-selling hardcover book in American history next to the Bible. So it might be surprising to find out that behind this book is a manufacturing department of just one: David Pelkey. Pelkey, Merriam-Webster’s director of manufacturing, oversees the manufacturing of all printed materials for the company. “I do all of the paper purchasing, warehousing and inventory management, and I also have a hand in distribution,” he says. Pelkey’s name may not be as well-known as the dictionary he helps produce, but this year, after

Courier Upgrades Press in Effort to Improve Production
August 25, 2006

A significant upgrade to one of Courier’s six manufacturing plants is expected to help the fifth-largest book manufacturer and specialty publisher in the North America improve the production and print quality of millions of books. The company announced this week that it has added a EPG (Essex Products Group) KeyColor C remote ink control system to its Westford, Mass. plant. The installation, part of a larger press overhaul at the short-run plant, will enable Courier to reduce makeready time and waste by accurately presetting the ink fountain keys. “As one of Courier Corporation’s short-run book plants, it is imperative that we have the tools necessary

Danger Lurks Offshore for American Printers
August 1, 2006

Chuck Nason admits he wasn’t fully prepared for the effects of global competition as it accelerated in 2001. The president and CEO of Worzalla Publishing, a Stevens Point, Wis.-based book manufacturer, watched as a significant portion of the company’s four-color children’s book work went to China. “Global competition has affected us in a major way,” Nason contends. “It caused us to suffer a five-year slide in annual sales from just over $62 million to $44.4 million a year ago. This has meant little or no wage increases for our employees and a freeze on capital equipment purchases for four years.” Nason points out what

New Technology Eliminates Need of Lamination for Covers, Dust Jackets
July 28, 2006

A new breakthrough in dust jacket material, introduced to the market earlier this month, could wind up saving publishers time and money by helping to bypass the need to add a protective laminate during production. Visual Systems Inc. (VSI), a Milwaukee-based book component manufacturer, introduced the innovative new plastic material to the market in early July. The company says the product--called BaseOneone that omits part of the production process resulting in approximately 20 percent savings for educational publishers. On the trade side of things, VSI says there is a 2 to 5 percent savings from eliminating the laminating step and the extra time and materials

Espresso Book Machine Brews Visions of New Distribution Model
July 28, 2006

With the push of a few buttons and a swipe of a credit or debit card, customers at the World Bank InfoShop bookstore in Washington have become among the first to use one of the first viable print on demand services since the Espresso Book Machine, a commercial book-making device, was first installed in April. With the three-month test run of On-Demand Books’ machine wrapping up earlier this month, its success leaves the question of whether the current distribution model may get turned over on its head if the concept takes off. By not only printing, but then binding the book on-demand, the $100,000-plus machine

Scuff-Free Matte Laminate Creates Opportunities for Designers
July 14, 2006

Since first opening its doors for business back in 1997, Pinnacle Press’ clients have repeatedly asked the printer whether a scuff-free laminate was available to use on the covers, dust jackets and seasonal catalogs the company printed for them. “Since the moment the company started, we’ve had that question,” said Pinnacle Press President Tom Rohlfing. Like many other printers, Pinnacle’s customers were weary of using dark colors on covers, due to the ease of scuffing. So Pinnacle -- like many other printers -- faced a high-number of returns because of damage if they did not spend the extra money for protective plastic wrapping to preserve their

Top 30 Book Manufacturers
June 1, 2006

For the second consecutive year, Visant Corp. nailed down the top spot in Book Business’ Top 30 Book Manufacturers List (p. 41)—ranked by 2005 book manufacturing revenue—in what was certainly an up-and-down year for many book printers. The book manufacturing landscape continues to change, with paper prices on the rise while availability declines. Publishers are being more vigilant than ever in controlling their costs, while Asia’s impact on the market increases each year. In its annual look at the state of the industry, Book Business sought insights from executives at four of the companies on the list—four companies, it is worth noting, that posted

Pressing Matters Face the University Press Market
June 1, 2006

The university press has always been about more than just turning a profit. There’s the contribution of enabling scholars to write about unusual subjects, professors expanding on their classroom teachings and the overall extension of the university’s mission. Still, in a time when college budgets are dealing with further cutbacks and digital publishing is becoming more of a factor, university presses have never felt more pressure to produce economically, as well as educationally. “We’ve always relied on the credibility of what we publish to keep us afloat, but we need to expand our market to the mainstream,” says Ivar Nelson, director of the Eastern

Big News on the “Green” Front
June 1, 2006

Environmental advocacy groups were likely breaking out the champagne as Random House Inc. (—the world’s largest English-language trade book publisher and the U.S. division of Random House, the largest trade book publisher in the world—­announced its plans for a tenfold increase in its use of recycled paper. The company says that within four years a minimum of 30 percent of the uncoated paper it uses to print the majority of its U.S. titles will be derived from recycled fibers (as opposed to its current 3 percent). The announcement marks the most substantial environmental initiative in the company’s history, and considering the fact that

Industry Nostalgia High as Quebecor World Announces Plant Closings
May 1, 2006

Manufacturing plant closings aren’t exactly unheard of in this industry, and never is the news of a plant closing received without some pangs of distress for the employees, their families, the local communities, and even the company’s corporate officers who are forced to make such difficult decisions and handle the ensuing layoffs. But some plant closing announcements seem to hit the industry a little harder than others. The recent announcement by Quebecor World that it will close its Kingsport, Tenn., book manufacturing facility is one example. “Anyone in book publishing … probably knows the name Kingsport,” says Martin Maloney, chairman of the public