Digital Book Printing Conference Highlights

By | December 27, 2015

Did you miss the Digital Book Printing Conference back in October? The “In Case You Missed It” webinar is now available on demand. Here are some highlights.

According to Marco Boer, VP IT Strategies, who gave the keynote for the conference, as the total number of printed books declines, languishing inventories are becoming a greater problem. While the culture is still to look at per-unit costs rather than the costs of a book over it lifetime, the inventory problem is forcing publishers to re-evaluate their business models.

Despite drivers for digital production, the “State of the Digital Book Printing Market” survey, conducted jointly by IT Strategies and Printing Impressions, found that the overwhelming majority (71.4%) of publishers feel that it will be 5+ years before a zero-inventory business model becomes “urgent.”

The number one barrier to the zero inventory model? Book publishing culture (47.5%) and lack of infrastructure (32.3%). According to panelists, book publishers aren’t incentivizing their print production staff to cut down on inventory costs. There remains fear and mistrust that zero inventory can work. In particular, there is concern about being caught out of stock and lack of digital book publishing standards to ensure consistent quality over time.

But there are publishers that do make it work. Among the panelists at the conference were Wiley & Sons, which has 20,000 titles 100% POD; Reed Elsevier, whose stock is 95% POD with a goal of 100% over time; and Practising Law Institute, whose books are 100% POD thanks to constantly changing legal content.

The Practising Law Institute, which now prints its books in-house, used to pay $90,000 in shipping costs and throw away $750,000 in inventory every year. Now it prints right in its warehouse and saves a boatload of money. For Reed Elsevier, its move to POD was driven by run lengths and the need to get books to end users more quickly (it had been printing in China). The cost efficiencies brought by high-speed inkjet finally made the POD model viable. Switching to POD also allowed the publisher to achieve its goal of 30% overall cost savings.

Here are some other data presented by IT Strategies:

  • The percentage of books printed via digital print production (whether toner or inkjet) is estimated to grow from 6% today to 12% in 2019.
  • Offset book production will decline 2% year over year.
  • Inkjet has improved to the point that book manufacturers can now print 1,000 – 2,000 copies of a title cost-effectively.
  • In 2016, inkjet will grow to surpass toner, growing 29% YOY. By contrast, toner will grow 3% YOY.

In the next three years, where is most of inkjet’s growth most likely to occur?

  • Replacement of offset 29%
  • Replacement of digital toner 46.1%
  • Creation of new products 25%

Currently, pages printed digitally account for an estimated 5% of the book market.

According to the “State of the Digital Book Printing” survey, only 9% of respondents felt that 25-50% of books would be printed digitally by 2020. More than half (51.3%) felt that somewhere between 10-20% is a realistic number.

To view the entire “highlights” webinar, click here.




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One thought on “Digital Book Printing Conference Highlights

  1. Sardjeva Rossitza

    This info may be confirm the point of Benny Landa that Inkjet very soon wil become a mainstream printing technology??? (Though as we know his Inkjet is Nanographic printing and he means his own Inkjet method).

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