Report Shows Continued Environmental Improvement in U.S. Book Industry
March 13, 2013

A new report by the Book Industry Environmental Council (BIEC) and Green Press Initiative indicates that the U.S. book industry has continued to make progress towards reducing the environmental impacts of books including impacts on forests and climate change. Among the most notable findings was that paper producers who supply book papers reported using an average of 24% recycled fiber, almost a fivefold increase from 2004 when they were believed to be using around 5% recycled fiber.

The Book Shows Go On: Everything you need to know about book production and design awards and shows in 2013
March 6, 2013

The six major annual book design shows listed above continue to anchor our industry in its traditions of craft, even though painfully unadorned ebooks and cluttered multimedia platforms proceed apace, charting their own course. Whatever the wide range of book show presenting criteria, as shown in the survey that follows, ultimately the purpose of book design is to enhance the readability and message of the book itself. 

Print will survive and thrive in those areas where it continues to fulfill that purpose. Where digital media prevail, irrepressible design aspirations will soon follow.

While some shows are beginning to provide digital edition categories (mostly fixed format and multi-media), print editions continue to be foundational platforms for book design and organization — at least for the time being. Leading edge designers are exploring ways to bring design criteria into the reflowable formats.

The Rise of the Full-Color Book
March 1, 2013

We know that books printed digitally have tended to be, like the old stitch about newspapers, black and white and read all over. For most of digital printing's existence, producing professional four-color books just wasn't possible; you had to use offset. But the times they are a-changing, and technological advances are making the production of full-color books in longer short runs more feasible and economical than ever before. The advent of sheetfed digital printing brought us the ability to print full-color books in very short runs—it was responsible for opening up the high-growth photo book market. Now "4-up" and roll-fed "printer/presses" are further changing the full-color publishing paradigm.

Before we go further, let's define some terms, as printers are, in essence, quite different from presses. Printers regenerate the impression for each copy from a digital file, which allows them to use electronic collation and print the pages of a book block in order. Presses, on the other hand, use a physical image carrier (a plate) to reproduce large printed sheets which are folded into signatures, gathered and bound. But printers become, in essence, presses when either the sheet size or output speed starts to approach the specs of an analog reproduction device (aka a press). A "printer/press" is my term for printers that have many characteristics of a press.

The Year of Living Digitally
March 1, 2013

After years of obscurity, the e­book has become a full-fledged disruption for publishers—supplanting print sales in North America and Europe, and threatening to do so throughout the developing world. Influenced by rapid changes in handheld, portable devices, as well as new pricing and supply chain models, e­books represent both problem and opportunity for publishers. Rather than attempting absolute predictions, it may be more helpful to assess the current situation—and the many remaining obstacles to e­book adoption and profitability—all with an eye toward discovering ways for publishers and their partners, at least in theory, to thrive in this new environment.

There’s no need to detail the history of e­books, except to point out a specific turning point: Amazon’s 2007 combining of E Ink devices with its enormous e-commerce potential. The Kindle phenomenon transformed e­books from novelty status into a viable consumer trend, especially for narrative text reading. The big question today is whether the tablet trend marks a similar, fundamental transformation in e­book consumption, or just an incremental step in the process.

TC Transcontinental Broadens Internal and External Scope of its Paper Purchasing Policy
February 22, 2013

Already known in the industry for its forward-looking environmental strategy, TC Transcontinental is proud to announce that it is broadening the internal and external scope of its Paper Purchasing Policy by stipulating, among other things, that recycled or certified papers be used for its printing and own publishing activities. As part of TC Transcontinental's commitment to continual improvement, the Corporation has updated its policy and reiterates its commitment to encouraging its customers to choose certified papers when recycled paper is unavailable, so that by working together we can significantly diminish environmental and social impacts.

It Ain't Necessarily So: Predicting the end of print, and e-ink, and B&N, has become the new national pastime.
January 16, 2013

The returns are in on sales for Amazon and Barnes & Noble from the holiday sales period. Remember that “surge” that I mentioned in my last blog? Like the song says “it ain’t necessarily so.”

On the one hand, Amazon had its biggest holiday season ever, with the Kindle Fire being its number one product—specifically the “#1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product."

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble sales were down almost across the board—in stores, on-line and sales of Nook. Revenues were down 12.6% from the previous year. The good news is that sales of digital content were up 13.1%, “indicating that at least those who own Nooks are using them to buy content.” While B&N would not specifically break out Nook sales they did say that after Black Friday sales “fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday.”

Why Printed Books Will Never Die
January 16, 2013

Measured en masse, the stack of "books I want to read" that sits precariously on the edge of a built-in bookshelf in my dining room just about eclipses 5,000 pages. The shelf is full to bursting with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.

It would be a lot easier to manage if I just downloaded all those books to an iPad or Kindle. None are hard to find editions that would be unavailable in a digital format, and a few are recent hardcover releases, heavy and unwieldy.

Has the e-book bubble burst?
January 12, 2013

“Half a decade into the e-book revolution …,” Nicholas Carr writes, “the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”

National Wildlife Federation in collaborative effort with McGraw-Hill and NewPage to increase textbook recycling
January 8, 2013

Almost 40 percent of K-12 and higher education schools are storing or throwing away textbooks that are dated, damaged or have otherwise reached the end of their productive life, leaving significant potential to increase book recycling programs across the country, according to a new study by the National Wildlife Federation.

The report concludes more education about the benefits of textbook recycling is needed to help schools identify options for recycling of unused textbooks. While the report highlights a number of pilot textbook recycling programs being conducted by higher education institutions such as the University of Wyoming, Columbia College, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, there are few K-12 school districts participating in similar efforts.

Arctic Paper gets boost from HarperCollins' bumper Hobbit print run
December 17, 2012

HarperCollins has published the Visual Companion and Official Movie Guide for The Hobbit, as well as children's books The Movie Story Book and The World of Hobbits to coincide with the cinema release of the first of three films based on the prequel to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Arctic Paper delivered 404 tonnes of Arctic Silk 130gsm to Italian book printer Rotolito Lombarda Spa for the 740,000 books that made up the initial print runs of the four titles, reprints of which are already in the pipeline.