In the current economy, the book manufacturing industry appears to be caught square between the proverbial rock and a hard place: on the one side, a publishing business suffering from decreased consumer demand and on the other, suppliers destabilized by the credit crunch. The industry, however, is showing surprising resiliency, having been thrust into difficult times with eyes wide open. Printers are determined to meet the challenge of a new marketplace defined by multiplatform delivery systems, environmental awareness and niche distribution models in the hopes that the post-“great recession” economy will find a book manufacturing industry emerging leaner, “greener” and more focused on the place of books in a digital age.
Speak to just about any book manufacturer these days about his or her business, and you’re likely to hear a laundry list of concerns: an economy teetering on the edge of a recession, paper’s rising costs and tighter supply, the need to respond to publishers’ and environmental groups’ “green” demands, and mounting pressure to improve turn times and to upgrade technology, among others. And yet, for an industry so seemingly wrought with challenges, a look at Book Business’ annual list of North America’s Top 30 Book Manufacturers (on pages 16-17) appears to tell a different story. Just seven of the 30 printers who appear
If 2007 goes down as “The Year of RR Donnelley,” it will do so as a result of a 65-day span at the turn of the year during which the conglomerate announced it would acquire three industry stalwarts: Perry Judd’s, Von Hoffman and Banta Corp. But the past year has been about more than consolidation and leveraged buyouts. North American printers continue to grapple with the mounting menace that is offshore manufacturing, fluctuating paper prices amid a series of mill shutdowns, and the ever-evolving technological demands of their customers. And yet, despite these challenges, there are also a number of opportunities facing the market.
Whether it’s an example of survival of the fittest for printers or merely another entry in a long line of acquisitions, RR Donnelley & Sons put the publishing industry on notice as it completed its “trilogy of transactions” this week, a course of action the industry’s top commercial printer says will help offer its customers greater capacity and flexibility. The Chicago-based printer announced it would make an all-cash purchase of educational-book printer Von Hoffmann from Visant Corp., in a deal valued at $412.5 million, RR Donnelley officials said Wednesday. “In concert with our fully integrated international production platform, the addition of Von Hoffmann’s facilities will offer
RR Donnelley & Sons Company and Banta Corporation jointly announced last week that they have signed a definitive agreement in which RR Donnelley will acquire Banta, a provider of printing, supply chain management and related services. The all-cash deal is valued at approximately $1.3 billion, or $36.50 per share after the special dividend of $16.00 per share already declared by Banta. The agreement has been unanimously approved by both companies’ board of directors and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007. With the move, RR Donnelley will expand the range of products and services it offers customers, while at the same
If there’s ever a good time to talk about the state of book distribution, this would be it. Right now, everyone is abuzz about changes occurring within the system thanks in part to the July release of Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.” Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, declares the demise of common culture and cites occurrences called “long-tailed distributions,” or distributions to a greater number of smaller markets, rather than one, big mass market. According to Anderson, this helps distributors since they are no longer cut off by bottlenecks of distribution, such as limited
Banta Corp., one of the leading book and magazine printers in the world, is not for sale, company representatives said this week. The Wisconsin-based provider of printing services announced its firm stance Wednesday afternoon after receiving an reportedly unsolicited offer of $1.1 billion from rival Cenveo Inc. According to a story published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cenveo, a Stamford, Conn.-based company known for its envelopes, labels and packaging products, disclosed it had offered $46 per share in cash for an outright buyout of Banta. Banta Chairwoman and Chief Executive Stephanie A. Streeter responded in an open letter addressed to Cenveo CEO Robert G. Burton Sr.,
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
No region in the world is safe from piracy. That's the conclusion of Patricia Judd, executive director of international copyright enforcement and trade policy at the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in Washington, D.C. "Piracy is a worldwide phenomenon," Judd says. The AAP estimates losses to its members of more than $600 million a year in about 67 markets across the globe. As more book publishers explore their offshore book manufacturing options, foreign book manufacturers are boosting efforts to lure American publishers. It's all in the name of lowering costs. But does this offshore manufacturing activity put publishers at an increased risk of
Book publishers are keeping their fingers crossed that 2005 will be the year the industry shakes off the period of stagnation that has coincided with the U.S. economic downturn. The domestic market continued to remain essentially flat in 2004, but industry insiders are hopeful that the market will soon show growth. The shift toward more flexible production schedules, and resurgence in educational and reference titles will likely be the engines that drive any industry upswing. Another trend in 2005 will be publishers aiming to enhance profitability by leveraging the cost benefits of digital printing and international sourcing. Setting the Stage for Growth