While the book market overall will remain relatively flat over the next three years, digital technologies will provide new opportunities and better processes for content creation, delivery and production.
That perspective was one of many shared by participants during an expansive roundtable discussion about the future of book publishing. Held at the New York Public Library and hosted by Kodak, the roundtable brought together executives from book publishing, manufacturing, retailing and distribution companies, as well as an author.
“Given the sea changes taking place in every facet of the book publishing market, the time was right to hear from a panel of experts about trends, issues, opportunities and predictions,” said Chris Verlander, Director of Book Segment Marketing, Kodak. “While acknowledging both excitement and anxiety about the transformation taking place, there was optimism from the panelists about the benefits and advantages that digital technologies bring to the book market in today’s cross-platform publishing world.”
Topics, highlights and points-of-view shared by various participants included:
· The fluctuating revenue model for e-books as publishers have assumed a number of new costs, such as licensing and privacy protection, associated with e-books.
· High-speed inkjet printing will have a significant impact on book manufacturing—“the biggest development in publishing in the past 50 years,” according to one panelist.
· Inkjet printing will allow for more and shorter production runs, saving on inventory, waste and obsolescence costs, and providing a means for niche books to be printed that otherwise wouldn’t get produced.
· E-books make it possible to offer new promotions based on an individual’s interests, such as bundling similar e-books into one download or including a sample of a different author’s work with an e-book purchase.
· Print-on-demand book production minimizes losses associated with returns, which can average 15% for many titles.
· While children have access to computers and other electronic devices, they typically prefer the printed book.
· All players in the publishing market need to remain agile and always ready to adapt their business models.
· Publishers will continue to add value and play a critical role in bringing books to the marketplace.
“The bottom line: people will have greater access to books and related content, what, when and however they want it, which should mean more people reading more often,” said Jim Milliot, Editorial Director, Publisher’s Weekly, and moderator of the discussion. “And that certainly bodes well for the future.”
To view a video of the entire book publishing roundtable, go to: www.kodak.com/go/changepublishing.
Participating in the roundtable were Craig Bauer, Senior Vice President of Production and Manufacturing, Hachette Book Group, a U.S. trade publisher; Larry Bennett, Vice President of Digital Print Media, Baker & Taylor, a distributor of books, videos and music products; Jac Garner, President, Webcrafters Inc., a leader in four-color printing and book manufacturing; Jeffrey Matthews, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Investor Relations, Scholastic Corporation, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books; Paul Morgan, Global Fulfillment Manager, Lulu.com, a print-on-demand network for books; Melinda Roberts, author of Mommy Confidential and the Mommyblog.net; Jim Robinson, Vice President of Operations and Administration, Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.; and Liz Scheier, Editorial Director, Digital Content, Barnes&Noble.com.
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