On-Demand Publishing Is In Demand

On-demand publishing has overtaken traditional publishing in yearly title output, signaling a surge in products like customized print-on-demand books, according to a recent Publishing Business webinar, “Customized Books: What Is The Opportunity?”

On-demand publishing has enjoyed jaw-dropping year-to-year growth in market share. The number of on-demand titles published in the US in 2008 increased more than 200% from 2007 to 285,394, overtaking the publication of traditional titles (which dropped 3% to 275,232) for the first time, reports industry resource Bowker. According to Interquest, a digital publishing market resource, the books-on-demand market has increased from 20 billion pages in 2006 to 38 billion in 2009.

Barbara Pellow of market research firm InfoTrends predicted in the webinar, broadcast this month, that print-on-demand would continue to rise as on-demand book production costs continue to fall. Richard Adey, managing director at children’s UK book publisher Penwizard (www.penwizard.co.uk), explained the logistics behind his company’s personalized, print-on-demand children’s titles. The customer designs certain elements of the book, such as book characters, through an interface on the Penwizard website. Penwizard produces books using a web-to-print digital press that transmits data on customer-designed book elements, stored in a SQL server, to a remote printer. An individual customer’s order fulfillment takes up to three days due to the need to accumulate multiple orders for batch printing. Adey noted that, in customized book publishing, publishers form direct relationships with their customers, allowing publishers access to their demographic data but exposing them to the problems of customer service.

Rick Bellamy, CEO of on-demand manufacturing company RPI, described how a similar digital printing method was used by Against All Odds Productions (www.theobamatimecapsule.com) to produce their personalized Obama Time Capsule books. In those books, personalization was available through customer-uploaded photos and text and appears in several different places, including the front and back covers.

Penwizard’s Noddy books sold a respectable 10,000 in the UK within two and a half months. But RPI’s Bellamy admitted that his Obama Time Capsule books did not sell as well as expected and did not turn a profit. Though the exponential increase in the output of on-demand books is clearly encouraging, it’s not clear if consumer demand has risen to match.

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One Comment

  1. Sep 20, 201212:14 am

    Your post is so interesting and informative. I got a lot of useful and significant information. Thank you so much.

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  1. By Authors: Here’s some more bad news. on September 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

    […] gone from abysmal to almost non-existent. Check out this blog from the publishing trends blog about On Demand Publishing. Don’t forget to come back and let me know what your opinion on the subject […]

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