As promised last week, we’ll focus this time on the impact that New Trends in Publishing (#bicnewtrends @BIC1UK) can have on production departments and suppliers such as printers. Mike Levaggi is Group Production Director at HarperCollins and he came to the BIC Seminar to tell us a bit more about the digital print revolution.
Publishing is changing, I think we’re all aware of that. There is an increasing number of titles and a decreasing run length: publishers tend to print short runs to adapt to their business model.
E-books and e-readers create extensive back lists and encourage print on demand. In this context, digital print is growing rapidly and is replacing offset printing. Print on demand requires publishers to move fast: you don’t print a book unless there is an order for it (“book of one”, down to one copy). The same way short print runs have increased changeover time and put pressure on conventional printing. Print runs are getting shorter and smaller orders are driving administrative issues for both printer and publisher which changes the workflows in production departments.
To face these changes, printers and manufacturers are tooling up, investing in a range of digital technologies to be able to print faster and shorter at a better cost. Inkjet quality is improving, as well as costs. Equipment suppliers work on higher resolution.
Digital printing is a lot faster, it increases flexibility and minimises turnaround times. Digital accelerates cash-flows.
What’s next? Mike has been talking to a lot of publishing professionals, printers and suppliers and according to them, the industry is facing the biggest change since print moved from film to computer. The technology will continue to improve, driving cost and quality benefits. More titles will be kept available without increasing inventory. Workflows will develop rapidly in all parts of the supply chain. And the pace of change is going to be increased.