New Study Predicts Double-Digit Growth in Digital Book Printing
Digital printing continues to expand beyond its early niche markets and now plays increasingly important roles in many mainstream printing applications. InterQuest, a market and technology research company located in Charlottesville, Va., recently analyzed digital on-demand book and manual printing in North America and Europe, and has published its findings in "The Digital Book and Manual Printing Opportunity: Market Analysis and Forecast."
Some of the key questions addressed in the study include:
• What impact has digital printing had among publishers and traditional book manufacturers?
• Will digital printing continue to expand deeper into the trade, or will its use be limited?
• How much of a role has full-color digital printing played in on-demand book and manual printing?
• Will any emerging technological developments play a defining role in the market?
The study is based on a survey of 50 book and manual printers conducted earlier this year in both North America and Europe.
A Foot in the Door
Many conditions in the book market are favorable for the application of on-demand printing technology:
• publishers are facing increasing returns from distributors,
• books in general have shorter shelf lives,
• more titles are published each year, and
• the Internet has opened a Pandora's box of possibilities ranging from self-publishing to new distribution channels.
Conventional book printing is expected to grow no more than 1 percent or 2 percent in the near future, and book printers face fierce price pressure, overseas competition, shorter run lengths and faster turnaround requirements.
Digital printing has been used to produce manuals for nearly a decade and a half, but books have been a different story. Price, performance and capability thresholds have been relatively high—much higher than requirements for the production of manuals. In recent years, however, digital printing systems—continuous-feed devices in particular—have become fast enough, reliable enough and economical enough to get a foot in the book-printing door.