Printing Changing book-buying habits, market disruption, and the rise of e-commerce are challenging publishers and printers to produce and deliver books more flexibly and quickly than ever while trying to maintain product quality at lower costs.
Although the demand for printed books is stable, their economic profitability has changed radically.
Analog offset production methods, which were ideal when publishers were producing large volumes of individual titles, are increasingly unproductive.
Digital production technology enables dynamic, high-speed book printing and finishing in short runs or even single copies. This technological change is encouraging publishers and printers to rethink the way they work.
In the past, the commercial success of a book printer was traditionally based on that of its publishing customers. If they had good sales, they could produce higher volumes and earn more income.
Today’s publishing world, like most content industries, is less focused on volume sales and more on designing solutions that meet changing consumer habits, supporting individual buying behaviors and journeys.
Change is constant. The future of publishing is clearly cross-platform, an aspect that is reflected in the success of formats such as audiobooks and technology-driven innovations such as fiction apps.
In the future, the print book is likely to be just one element of the customer journey, with content consumed in different formats and on different devices. We call this concept a “smart book”.
How to proactively adapt to change
These trends in the publishing industry alter the dynamics of the supply chain.
The future of the industry calls for a transition from a transactional relationship, in which the printer is simply “in charge of orders”, to a so-called “experience triangle” model in which the publisher, printer, and print provider technological solutions work side by side to develop new business models and design new strategies that guarantee success.
Currently, the main weaknesses of publishers are located in planning and costs. Historically, publishers calculated production volumes based on sales forecasts and, if they were wrong, had to bear the costs.
Is it preferable to risk producing large volumes of a title and eliminate the surplus?
Digital Printing, Mailing & Fulfillment technology may hold the key to solving these types of problems, but only if book printers come to understand the ever-evolving business drivers of their publishers.
New business models that generate new opportunities
In addition, this dialogue will be a good indicator of the growing demand for services in the short term.
New levels of integration
Book Lifecycle Management (BLM) requires a much closer level of collaboration between print shop and publisher.
(This may also indicate the need to acquire and implement new technologies and process management skills in the printing business.)
The transition to a full-on-demand model further strengthens the partnership between print and publisher. On-demand production completely removes the safety net of printed inventory, so production is only triggered by an actual order. This requires perfectly automated work processes between print shop and publisher, backed by strong service level agreements between all links in the supply chain.
This model also challenges conventional cost analysis methods among publishers and printers.
The era of collaborative innovation
New ways of working for new times. Traditional supply chains are becoming complex ecosystems where multiple solution providers work together on just-in-time principles.
The need to communicate openly and collaborate for innovation has never been more important.