Integrated Book Technology
Integrated Book Technology (IBT Global) has joined forces with Hamilton Printing of Castleton, NY. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [IBT is ranked #243 with $19 million in sales on the 2011 Printing Impressions 400 ranking.]
The new company will operate under the name IBT/Hamilton moving forward and will have more than 160 employees with revenues approaching $30 million.
Indian service providers for typesetting, e-book, copy-editing and other production services are an established fact and part of virtually every major publisher's workflow.
To be sure, the business process outsourcing (BPO) of publishing services is a growth business, forecast to reach $1.2 billion in 2012 (according to a report by research and intelligence organization ValueNotes, "Offshoring in the Publishing Vertical: 2009"), including outsourcing for book, magazine and newspaper publishing—with 60 percent of these revenues being directed to Indian providers.
That said, it appears that we may be on the verge of a new addition to the existing Indian business model—an initiative that the Indian book manufacturing community has named Book City—Vision 2017.
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.
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.
In previous columns, I've explored the strategic reasons to consider outsourcing distribution operations and the request for proposal (RFP) process for outsourced distribution partners. Now, let's assume that you have evaluated all the third-party proposals and selected the finalist among the various bids.
The first step in the RFP process is to identify the companies you wish to consider as potential bidders for your distribution business. You have, essentially, two options: specialist firms that provide distribution services to book publishers, and book publishers who handle distribution for other publishers.