Books… From Analog to Digital
InfoTrends recently completed its 2010–2015U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast. Print is driven by applications, and digital production printing is no exception. Demand for specific applications changes over time for a number of different reasons, including growth in usage, electronic replacement, and shorter runs. This study explored 28 specific application segments and measured digitally printed application volume changes in A4 (U.S. letter-sized) equivalent impressions.
The top three production digital print applications in theU.S.will be direct mail, books, and bills and statements. Combined volumes for these applications are expected to exceed 270 billion impressions. Book printing is expected to account for a 16.6% share by the end of the forecast period (94.5 billion impressions).
In terms of pure pages, the book market is expected to show the biggest gain. Its share is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% between 2010 and 2015, representing over 45 billion pages by the end of the forecast period.
Inkjet and digital printing will aggressively begin to displace analog offset printing of books. Improvements in continuous-feed inkjet printers will fuel the shift to digital printing within the book market. Every aspect of inkjet – speed, quality, and format – will see significant leaps in performance during 2012.
Publishers Will Respond!
Digital printing is destined to grow in volume at the expense of conventional printing for the book market. In an uncertain market, publishers are beginning to embrace digital because it enables shorter runs. Shorter runs reduce the amount of unsold books, reduce storage costs, allow reprinting in smaller batches, and offer the opportunity to print specialty books for niche markets, including self-published books.
There is much confusion about how consumers want their content delivered, but digital printing will provide the answer. Publishers understand the value proposition, and everything links to dollars and cents.
The Bottom Line
Technology keeps changing and publishers, authors, and printers are feeling the effects. Although print isn’t going away, ebooks are here to stay. Publishers need partners with technology and service offerings that will help content move seamlessly between traditional book printing, on-demand digital printing, and electronic distribution.