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Regardless of the category – from short-run special-interest literature to speculative bestseller editions – more and more books have to be printed while they’re “hot.” It’s increasingly difficult for publishers to estimate the quantities they are going to sell. There is also an ever-increasing risk of ending up with piles of unsold inventory. Here too, digital printing can build the bridge to combine profitability with superfast response times.


Benefit From Digital Print On Demand

According to a comprehensive survey released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, book sales are up. What’s more, all segments saw growth. Changing technology requires that publishers today partner with printers who provide the services that can offer the combined benefits of traditional book printing, on-demand digital printing and electronic distribution. Digital printing will grow at the expense of offset printing.

In its U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast 2010-2015, InfoTrends projected that books will follow direct mail as the top two digital print applications. In terms of pages, InfoTrends expects the book market to show the biggest gain — 45 billion pages by the end of 2015.

Publishers will be successful by finding appealing niche markets for short runs. With innovative products, they can retain a stable base if they can combine digital printing and the new manufacturing concepts. Service providers will need to expand into content management, integrated data analytics and business intelligence to create new revenue streams.

Full-color, On-demand Printing

Rethink the structure. Growth in publishing revenues is achievable only through an optimized blend of marketing and production activities that also embrace e-commerce. More and more books are self-published by businesses and organizations or private individuals who take charge of their own marketing and production. Marketing and direct contact with and access to customers play a crucial role.

The winners are the book projects being managed and controlled directly by consumers. These are projects that use the possibilities of digital communications technology as their value driver. The best example: photo books, created on print portals and printed fully digitally.

Print Catalogs Are Still Working

The thick product catalogs that used to arrive in consumers’ mailboxes have seen their last days. But print catalogs are not gone; they’ve just slimmed down. These mini catalogs often exceed the results of their heavier predecessors, and customers like that they use less paper.

Companies are also resizing catalogs to serve customization, using variable data printing. Today, both consumer and business marketers can target customers with smaller catalogs customized exclusively for them — even for an audience of one. With the one-size-fits-all concept no longer in play, companies can give their reps and dealers the ability to produce custom catalogs versioned for their customers. These smaller, targeted print catalogs are a good fit for mobile users and can use QR codes to drive sales right over their smart phones.

Catalogs are still the major prospecting tool for most merchants, and they use them for branding as well as for selling products.

Reaches Audiences Repeatedly

Newsletters are good for business. They offer a fast, cost-effective way to advertise and promote products, services, offerings, or special events while publicizing an organization’s core message. They can range from a basic, text-only, black-and-white, one-sided sheet to a sophisticated, multipage, full-color publication.

Formats vary widely:

  • No-fold
  • Single-fold
  • Tri-fold
  • Double parallel-fold
  • Accordion-fold
  • French fold
  • Roll-fold
  • Gatefold

With digital printing, short runs let marketers produce affordable, high-impact, high-quality newsletters to reinforce their image and their business.

Feature Members, Conferences, and Resources

The fragmentation of the book publishing market has provided opportunities for commercial printers to create a revenue stream from specialty catalogs and directories. Digital printing makes it easy to produce short runs of publications like these with fewer pages, limited audiences, and typically short shelf-lives. Turning out ready-collated copies makes just-in-time delivery possible, so printers can accommodate last-minute changes or additions to content listed in directories.

Magazines Have Highest Levels of Engagement

While digital printing is replacing traditional offset for many applications, InfoTrends predicts that overall print volumes will grow between 2012 and 2017. Magazines, direct mail, catalogs, and brochures follow book publishing in color page impressions anticipated. Although some well-known magazines have ceased publication in the U.S., it’s premature to sound the death knell for the category. Between 2008 and 2013, the total number of consumer print magazines remained constant above 7,000. Despite their extensive use of all things digital, adults under 35 actually read more magazines every month than older consumers. According to one survey, more than 90% of college students read a magazine in the previous month. Among all media –magazines, broadcast TV, cable TV, newspaper, internet, and radio — magazines come in first for driving consumers in all demographics online to do research.

Marketers in many industries are publishing custom content in magazine form. And there are still more than 5,000 business magazine titles.

MPA Factbook 2013-2014, The Association of Magazine Media