From an overall decline in printed pages to a shift in how a book’s cost is perceived, the Digital Book Printing Conference revealed some interesting data and trends. Publishers, book printers, and equipment manufacturers gathered on November 17, 2016 in New York City to share their experiences and to discuss the future of digital printing. A few Sheridan staff members were fortunate to attend, listen, and participate in the conversations.
During the opening session, Marco Boer from IT Strategies shared results of a study that show overall printed page volume has decreased by two-thirds since 2007. The good news for book publishers is that book pages have been stable since 2010 and are expected to remain so. The decline mostly comes from newspapers. Magazines and catalogs are also contributors to the decline.
Boer also shared that the momentum of digital book printing continues to climb with about 8% of all book pages being printed digitally in 2016. This number is projected to reach 16% by 2020.
Another interesting topic centered on how digital printing is altering the economics of book publishing. There is a shift from simply looking at the per unit printing cost to looking at the overall cost of a book’s life. Ken Brooks, COO at Macmillan Learning, shared there are many factors that need to be looked at carefully to determine the cost of a book – printing costs, carrying costs, lost sales, forecasting demands, and returns all have an impact on the overall cost of a book’s life. Sometimes missing a sale can be more costly than not having a book in inventory and print-on-demand helps to fill the gap so that no title is ever obsolete.
For a complete recap of key takeaways form the 2016 Digital Book Printing Conference, check out the article by Ellen Harvey in Book Business.