The pandemic rocked the entire world this year, with rippling effects from disruptions felt in virtually every industry, including publishing. For many authors and book publishers, the uncertainty of the pandemic earlier this year resulted in postponed book release dates. After all, many thought things would be back to “normal” by the fall. That notion, sadly, did not come to fruition. And now, many publishers are faced with the challenge of releasing — and printing — an avalanche of books (both planned fall releases, and those that were postponed), as well as meeting the surge in demand from readers who are eager for their next book. Normally, the surge in demand would be celebrated by publishers; however, the pressures from the pandemic have shaken things up a bit too much this year, causing many publishers to struggle with demand, printing capacities, and inventory.
Effect on traditional publishing
Traditionally, publishers keep inventory on-hand to ship to bookstores and libraries, with the goal of purchasing the books at the lowest price. This process allowed publishers to have enough copies on-hand to fill orders, but fewer copies left on shelves when demand for the title wanes. The pandemic, however, has changed the game for many publishers.
According to a recent report, the surge in print books sales this year — due in large part to the pandemic — has increased by 12% this summer, with a year-to-date increase of 6% compared to 2019. This news is actually a double-edged sword for many publishers. On the one hand, the surge in demand is great for business and shows a growing readership. On the other, the demand has caused delays in printing as a result of low printing capacity.
The printing capacity solution
Many publishers are turning to print on-demand (POD) solutions to meet the challenges of printing capacity. With POD, a printer will keep a book’s files for “just-in-time” printing when an order comes in, or “just-in-case” printing when there is a sudden demand for a title (like we have seen this year). POD results in higher unit costs, but less waste. It also is a more efficient use of cash (i.e., you’re not printing for future sales) and enables publishers to capture perishable sales immediately.
At Sheridan, we empower publishers to not only print on-demand to meet the demand of their customer base, we also provide streamlined book production workflows through our Select™ product. From order placement and production to distribution and tracking, Sheridan’s Select™ workflow puts you in control and eases some of the pressures you may be facing. The workflows are effective whether you run POD or have thousands of print runs.
In a time when things are still very uncertain as a result of the pandemic and other external forces, it helps to know you have a partner in the publishing world. At Sheridan, we can be that partner for you. Sheridan has been offering these solutions since long before the pandemic entered our world, and we will continue to do so well after it has become just another blip in history.
From print to eBooks and eCommerce, Sheridan has your book publishing needs covered. Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation.