According to data from TrendWatch Graphic Arts’ (TWGA), special report, “A Decade of DI: TWGA Perspective on the Changing Market for Digital Imaging Equipment,” between 2003 and 2004, book publishers were the only publishing market to report a decline in business conditions.
According to the study, the record-breaking 10.8 million-copy first printing of the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince notwithstanding, book publishing is being affected adversely by a continual decline of book readers. This is a situation that will likely be exacerbated in less than a generation. The study predicts media mix issues will simultaneously be the curse and blessing for book publishers. A curse, because new media (starting with movies and television) is the cause of the decline in book readers. And a blessing, because transitioning to new media could help the industry. How this will be accomplished, no one knows.
“Sure, you can read a book on cell phone now, but some of us would rather throw ourselves under a train than read something like Anna Karenina one line at a time on a tiny display,” the report stated. “We may have to some day wrestle with the fact that the very nature of the book will likely change.”
TWGA also offers, “Variable-Data Printing: The Numbers are In!,” which reports that in summer 2004, 8 percent of catalog publishing companies cited “customization with variable-data printing” as a business challenge, down from 11 percent a year earlier.
According to the report, “For publishers, the question is no longer whether or not variable-data printing is ‘good enough’ to be implemented; even issues like print quality, which used to be paramount in the minds of publishers and creatives, are scarcely an issue any longer. Rather, the issue is whether this approach can mesh with the operations and their business models of catalog publishers–or publishers in general, for that matter.
“Although publishers have some legitimate concerns about the cost of variable data, there are still many other applications that publishers can explore. While we don’t see the same kind of reception for variable data in the publishing markets as we do in our commercial printing and traditional creative market data now, and deservedly so, we do see the beginnings of a real move to explore the options. Whether that will take a back seat to online publishing strategies still remains to be seen.”
For more information visit TWGA’s web site at www.trandwatchgraphicarts.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.