Ricoh has commissioned Smithers Pira to create a series of whitepapers. These look at opporunities for Print Service Providers to open new worlds in a number of key market segments.
Whitepapers available now:
Ricoh has commissioned Smithers Pira to create a series of whitepapers. These look at opporunities for Print Service Providers to open new worlds in a number of key market segments.
Whitepapers available now:
It’s exciting times for the publishing market. It is clear to me, from the Interquest Digital Book Forum held on Tuesday 28th in London that, when we look at the publishing market we see it is poised at the beginning of a new world of opportunities.
Over the last five years we have seen that digital book printing has become mainstream.
Publishers have been taking advantage of the digital printing to go beyond simple print on demand. They are using sophisticated virtual stock strategies and ASR (Automated Stock Replenishment) not only to reduce their inventories (and therefore their risk) but also to revive their backlist catalogues. So it’s no surprise that, according to Interquest, 89% of print volumes in Europe are now short runs.
In fact according to one publisher at the event, “Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher.”
Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher
We are finding that publishers are now looking to use the benefits of digital printing for as much of their catalogue as possible. This means that they want higher quality for colour books – especially Scientific Journals, Children’s books and trade books. However they also want the costs as close to offset printing as possible – i.e. Inkjet costs.
This requires a level of print quality significantly better than the majority of inkjet systems installed in the marketplace.
That’s why Ricoh’s ProVC60000 colour inkjet platform has been capturing publishers’ attention. It offers superb quality colour inkjet which now make it possible to print high quality books and journals, even on offset coated stocks. Elsevier’s Johan Van Slooten states the detail and the sharpness of the inkjet samples were better, adding: “Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.”
Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.
Publishers see how Amazon.com has effectively set customer expectations with fast turnaround, 24 hour delivery and rapid response.
And this is what publishers are increasingly looking for.
The larger publishers really want to achieve this worldwide – that’s why there was so much interest in local printing and in particular the distribute and print model.
All in all we think this represents a significant challenge for book manufacturers. It’s no longer just about substituting offset with digital, but it’s really about how to re-invent production to take advantage of new industry 4.0 technologies and processes.
Every book printer we talk to confirms that, in this new world of short SLAs, shortening print runs and flexible business models, then automation is essential if they are to continue to be profitable.
That’s why we have launched our new Digital Book Printing Solution. Built on Open Standards such as XML, PDF and JDF, it works with many digital print technologies. It is designed to help book manufacturers produce short run books profitably and cost-effectively. Using Ricoh’s longstanding heritage in financial markets the solution can batch print jobs to make printing more efficient and track and trace work so book printers and publishers alike know exactly where each job is.
Our rapidly growing presence in the European book printing marketplace is supported by our headline grabbing technologies. They include superb quality colour inkjet which now makes it possible to print high quality books and journals -even on offset coated stocks. Our high performance heavyweight digital toner solution is not only ideal for book covers but also for ultra-short run books.
Print production capabilities, combined with quality and seamless job delivery, enable PSPs to redefine their business approach to more effectively address a broader range of markets.
Who said print was in decline? According to Interquest US commercial print volumes have been increasing every year for the past five years.
In our view there is a new mood of optimism in the publishing market. Digital print technologies have enabled publishers to reduce their risks and takes out wastage .
Now it’s time for the next phase. To explore new business models – and open new worlds in publishing.
In this zone we want to show you how Ricoh’s solutions can help Open up New Worlds for you in publishing and book printing.
Here are just some of the great print samples you will be able to see in the Publishing zone.
Ricoh’s digital book printing workflow solutions allow Book Manufacturers to adapt their processes for the new world of short run, fast turnaround books and journal printing.
Publishers face many challenges in a rapidly evolving marketplace, but Ricoh’s new Pro VC 60000 means that long lead times on new publications need not be one of them
How things have changed. Only a few years ago people were predicting the death of the book as, e-books achieved exponential sales growth.
But two significant developments have demonstrated that the print book market remains alive and well.
Several weeks ago British high street bookseller Waterstones decided to stop selling Kindles due to “virtually no sales”, perhaps marking a watershed in the evolution of e-books. More recently, Amazon announced that it was opening a physical book store in Seattle.
So what is going on in the market—and what next for books?
Since the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle device, e-books have seen meteoric growth. They now account for nearly 25% of book sales in the US, and nearly 15% in the UK. However, many people that we talk to within the publishing industry believe that e-book sales have reached a plateau, especially in the US and UK. Indeed, the latest data from Nielsen shows that physical books sales actually increased, by 2% year on year.
This coincided with a decrease in e-book sales for the first time ever in the US.
But this does not necessarily mean that people have fallen out of love with e-books—rather, it indicates a wider pattern.
First, the e-book market is maturing.
The “land-grab” days are over, when e-book makers, content providers and publishers cut prices to drive market share. There has been consolidation among e-book providers.
Recent e-book price rises implemented by Amazon have made e-books less attractive as an alternative to print. “Large book publishers—including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—recently won, after a hard-fought battle, the ability to set their own prices for e-books. But now, as prices for many e-books have risen, the industry is seeing a slump in sales,” reports Nova Safo, a broadcast journalist for Marketplace.
Last but not least, printed books have proven to have an enduring appeal. Whereas there has been a wholesale shift from print to electronic in some segments—especially academic journals and novels—in other segments, demand for print remains strong, with year-on-year growth in Adult Non-Fiction (+5%), Adult Fiction (+3%), Juvenile Non-Fiction (+11%, all data from Nielsen). Perhaps this should not be such a great surprise. Electronic delivery has revolutionised the journals market and expanded the reach of scientific and medical publishing. However, there is strong demand for printed children’s books.
So the bigger picture has been that, while demand for individual books has been declining, the dynamics of the market have been changing. There has been an explosion in the number of new titles published. In fact, according to European Book Publishing statistics, in the EMEA markets, more than 500,000 new titles are now published every year.
At the same time, Amazon has set the bar high for customer service. Increasingly consumers are expecting fast delivery—of around 24 hours for a paperback, or 48 hours for hardback.
This creates a whole new business model. Publishers increasingly need to plan their business around high availability of a very large range of titles, and low stock levels to reduce their risk. Nowadays, a major publisher will typically have 80,000 plus titles available via Print on Demand.
In a way this is the same as delivering e-books: consumers can access a large catalogue and can order what they want, when they want it.
This is exactly what major academic and scientific publisher Elsevier has been doing with its journals, which are literally printed to order in very small quantities using a highly efficient supply chain.
Key to this are the latest developments in digital print technology. The first wave of colour inkjet devices used by book manufacturers has helped to change the market by providing a compelling business case for short runs, produced quickly. This has already revolutionised the academic book market and some areas of mono trade books.
Now, with the launch of new colour inkjet devices such as the Ricoh Pro VC 60000, it is now feasible to print colour trade books in the same way. At our recent publishers event, held in Boulder, Colorado, we demonstrated that the Pro VC can now deliver a quality that can actually be better than offset. This opens up many new opportunities for publishers to take advantage of the compelling business case for short-run (and long-run) colour inkjet printing for books and journals that were either printed offset—or indeed, not even printed at all.
These are exciting times for publishing and book manufacturing. The whole business model is changing.
For publishers this not only reduces their risk, but also opens up significant opportunities to extract more value from their content. Now it is viable to produce even high-quality, colour trade books in very small quantities—and in short lead times too. This potentially means that books can be launched to the market quicker and be kept in print indefinitely.
To find out more about Ricoh’s solutions for publishing, visit www.ricoh-europe.com/publishing
This article originally appeared in the FutureBook 2015 Conference Programme.
It is very clear to see how publishing is changing in the world today; first music publishers, then newspaper publishers and now magazine and book publishers are finding that their markets are changing beyond recognition. These changes are a double-edged sword. On the one hand it represents a significant opportunity but on the other we will see traditional volumes decline and the traditional manufacturing model become increasingly inappropriate.
Traditional manufacturing equipment is no longer adaptable enough for this changing market. I doubt that a 30,000 books per hour binding line like the Muller Martini Corona I installed into a major UK Book Manufacturer some 10 years ago will ever be needed again in most markets.
Why? Well, the needs of the modern book publisher are changing and as suppliers we need to adapt.
Historically trade book print runs were 2000 – 3000 copies and these were bulk packed and supplied to the publishers warehouse. Publishers had millions of pounds held in inventory within in their warehouse. Volumes and margins were sufficient to have time to manufacture and store on a quarterly cycle. Today, with financial pressures on publishers and the ebook pushing down price, the market is much less predictable. Having lots of inventory and the risk of holding unsold stock is becoming unattractive to today’s publishers.
Even using traditional equipment regular orders of 500 copies is not uncommon but the trend for lower quantities and more frequent order cycles is obvious. So where is the trend going and what are publishers really looking for in the longer term ?
Trade Mono books have been the fastest to change, because they are relatively cheap, they are much less predictable in terms of sales and within the UK there is still a large proportion produced in the UK. Colour books however, are still mostly produced in the Far East or countries with a low cost base.
Let’s deal with mono trade books first, We have seen a significant investment in digital mono trade books in the UK with Clays, CPI and many others like Ashford and TJ International investing in inkjet production. This investment means that the mono trade book market is largely manufactured on a retail “on demand” basis.
I believe that once the mono trade book supply chain is established it will not be long before the colour trade book market will follow similar lines.
The reason for this belief is as follows:
Publishers need to react to the market place, sales are less predictable and it is becoming more and more difficult to be sure which titles will be successful and which ones will not. A publisher once said to me “ I have 5000 titles – I know 30% will be big sellers, I just don’t know which 30% that will be”
We also know it takes 3 days to get a book into a publisher’s warehouse and process it. It then takes 3 days to get it out again. 6 days is too long in today’s publishing world – Publishers need to be able to look at the retail and internet sales that occur in the prior week and order or replenish for the following week – it is that simple.
That means that ultimately we will need to produce orders of 200-500 on a 3-day turnaround as a minimum, even with traditional equipment. Looking forward, there will continue to be pressure to offer increased availability in order to service publishers at the level that they require which will mean that digital colour production will be a requirement. (In my experience Litho simply can not do that).
The switched on printers are taking that principle one stage further. If a printer is delivering an order in 3 days – why not bypass the publishers’ distribution system and warehouse altogether and deliver direct to store? Not as single jobs, but as a mixed batch of titles based on that stores sales the prior week?
If this is possible, with minimum impact on unit cost, this would be the publishers’ “Holy Grail” In some quarters I think that this is happening already. I believe that this is why Penguin/ Harper Collins moved all their trade titles from a two-supplier agreement (St Ives, Clays and CPI) to a single supplier agreement (Clays). The fewer suppliers means better manufacturing and distribution efficiency.
This means that printers will need to print orders of 5- 500 on a weekly or daily order cycle, but these orders will be in significant annual volumes; because the trade market consumes many millions of books per year.
This requires that digital book manufacturing needs to, and is, gearing up to this challenge.
Once inkjet can achieve acceptable colour for the publishers there is no reason why a trade book printer could not migrate to colour and fulfil the majority of titles to the trade market. This represents a significant opportunity for them as colour books have higher value and is a market that they previously did not serve.
Digital inkjet colour is here and many book printers are building their expertise in this area and offering publishers an opportunity to repatriate colour book production from China to the UK and Europe.
This raises some challenges however:
This seems like a lot of investment, a lot of effort and a significant risk for all involved? But the benefits are equally high – just look at how Clays has secured a 100% supply deal with Penguin/Random House. This means that the print service provider becomes a much more significant partner to the publisher. Once the supply chain is integrated and the savings have been made for the publisher, the printer becomes a logistics partner, a strategic partner , supplier that is involved with circulation, distribution and is ultimately responsible for making the publisher competitive in a very difficult market.
If I am right about colour inkjet it will meant that a significant amount of colour book production will be repatriated to the local market from the Far East and other regions meaning that a traditional trade book printer can grow significantly- After all there aren’t many traditional colour book printers left in the UK or Europe.
This supply chain model will enable publishers to publish more titles with less up front risk, it will open up local and self publishing opportunities for retail stores and make the book very competitive against other electronic publishing technologies.
Other opportunities will be to open up the deep back catalogue so that publishers can sweat their assets and printers can produce one off products and potentially deliver direct to consumer. As the supply chain and speed to market increases we could see new products like personalised books, especially for children, to become an every day way of adding value to what was once a commodity product as well as book stores offering more time sensitive products like magazines and newspapers.
As publishing the supply chain changes we will see more products produced locally in order to fulfil the time sensitive needs of the publisher.
Print Research International Ltd
This article was commissioned by Ricoh to bring you independent opinions from industry experts. We hope you find our guest speaker’s views interesting and stimulating. We would appreciate your feedback.
Short run promotional sample giveaways for airports, special edition book club runs or promotionally customised offerings.
These creative possibilities are among those that could shape the future of short run digital book production.
Some are already having an impact on today’s route to market for books as we saw at the London Book Fair this month. For example independent co-edition packager Elwin Street produced small quantities of offset-like quality books to cost effectively market their new trade list.
Titles chosen for this innovative treatment were The Vegetarian Year by Jane Hughes, endorsed by the UK Vegetarian Society; The Alkaline Cookbook by Dr Stephan Domenig and the Alkaline Cleanse, the follow-up to the best-selling Alkaline Cure; Love, Aimee x featuring 50 original, creative desserts from Aimee Twigger’s kitchen, as featured on her popular blog.
The new approach was supported by highly flexible, cost effective, easy to operate digital printing production technology from Ricoh and saw 50 editions of each produced.
Elwin Street’s Director Silvia Langford commented that the ability of Ricoh’s digital presses to produce books with high production values in very small quantities enables the publisher to show clients what new titles will look like.
The result was more conversations with more prospects.
However digitally printing books opens up additional opportunities. With digital print it is possible to produce personalised, customised versions of books.
Lost My Name is one company that has already reaped the rewards of personalisation in publishing. David Cadji-Newby who founded the company with three others developed The Little Girl/Boy Who Lost Her/His Name – an illustrated hardback which creates a personalised story around the letters of a child’s name. It has sold 500,000 copies to date, according to its publishers.
A slow start prompted the founders to appear on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den television show, where they secured £100,000 in return for 4% of the company – the highest valuation in the programme’s history. The 30-strong team now ships books, printed on demand, to 136 countries.
It is this kind of innovative approach that will shape the future for book production which is whyat Ricoh we see publishing as a significant opportunity for our digital print technologies. The flexibility that digital print can offer – especially for very short runs – presents so much choice.
It helps publishers like Elwin Street take a more considered approach to their print production processes – they can agree run lengths that suits today’s demand and know there is the ability to produce variable quantities in the future.
So is it time you looked at what considerations should you be evaluating and how can we help?
Today’s print communications ecosystem is complex with a number of supply lines. Each one has weaknesses and strengths, but I see three main drivers of change – all of which are moving volumes away from offset to digital printing.
The first is the economic crisis. It was bad for some operations but good for others. Commercial printers found it hard to get loans to make capital equipment investments, and marketers spent less. Meanwhile, packaging specialists thrived for the simple reason people went to restaurants less, which meant they cooked at home more.
The second is the growing adoption of production inkjet printing for a broad range of applications previously produced using offset technology, driving the adoption life cycle of inkjet. There has been a lot of generic talk about digital printing based on toner, but that technology has never replaced offset. Although the quality was good, digital toner-based printing was never able to offer the speed or reach the price point of offset over long runs. Full colour production inkjet is a relatively new entrant to the market. Ricoh announced the IP5000 in 2007 and had a first installation in the UK. It is non-impact printing technology, so there is no need for a blanket or photo imaging plate. Inkjet uses heat, pressure or electrical impulses to push ink directly onto the substrate. It delivers speed, increasing quality and the ability to print on many substrates, helping it become a viable alternative to offset. Now we see production inkjet printing being adopted in book, newspaper and direct mail production and, increasingly, in general commercial applications.
The third is the change in media habits. Readership is going down. Last year in the U.S., more than a quarter of adults didn’t read a book – regardless of whether it was an ebook or printed book. However, there has been increased talk about the different penetration rates of various media including tablets and e-media. Many direct mail campaigns have been using digital for some time – either in a hybrid manufacturing model or, increasingly as full colour inkjet. Another habit affecting print media is the use of smart phones or tablets to take advantage of interactive print capabilities using technologies such as a QR codes, Clickable Paper or page recognition in books, direct mail or newspapers. The Ikea catalogue is a very good example of this.
This is how today’s market is shaping up, and there is a further development on the way that will impact operations in the longer term – functional printing. This term encompasses an array of sectors from 3D to textiles and packaging. Frank Romano stated a few years ago that, in 20 years’ time, functional print could represent 40% of a printer’s business. It offers improved efficiencies in production for products such as solar cells and touch screens, which are labour intensive to produce with current processes. Some operations are already pioneering printed electronics with this end use in mind. This approach could be expanded so a book printer could be responsible for creating single-use electronic books, printed in short runs, on demand, by high volume inkjet presses. And for those concerned that this might create more waste, the end product is much easier to recycle than traditional electronic goods.
Currently inkjet presses are frequently replacing web fed presses for limited applications such as books, newspapers and direct mail. But I expect there to be a growing volume of true commercial print applications produced with production inkjet printing, such as catalogues, brochures, fliers, etc., as many of the big players look over the shoulders of pioneers. And those that doubted that inkjet could conquer the true playing field of commercial print can turn their attention to installations in operations such as Zalsman, in the Netherlands who have invested in a Ricoh ProTM VC60000. Zalsman is a successful mid-sized commercial printer that believes production inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive – for me that is proof that this is going to happen throughout the industry. Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner, and Zalsman is proof of that.
Some people have the view that the graphic arts sector is not an interesting business any more. I disagree with that and can see the transformation that is happening. Steve Jobs said it all comes down to innovation, and innovation is the difference between leaders and followers. There is a great deal of innovation happening in our industry, especially as it relates to production inkjet, and that makes it an exciting business.
I see two ways in which production inkjet is bringing innovation to the graphic arts industry – as a communications technology and as a functional printing technology. If you stick your head in the sand, these opportunities will pass you by; but if you go after them, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. I will be discussing all of this and more during the EBDA Seminar at Hunkleler Innovationdays, 26 February 2015, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Drop by and hear more about how Ricoh can help you investigate the best way to secure a brighter future.