Second Digital Revolution – But This Time It’s Print

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

The conference is called “drupa” but “the Olympics of printing” sounds a lot sexier. This year’s event, just concluded, may be the most significant print convocation since the Chicago Book Expo in 1998 that introduced print on demand.

Drupa is held, Olympics style, every four years in Düsseldorf, Germany. This year’s drew some 400,000 visitors, and what they saw will make POD look like a mimeograph machine.

“This year,” writes The Guardian‘s Mark Piesing. “visitors will see a number of rival technologies launched, each of which promises to deliver a ‘second digital revolution in printing’ that will allow the digital printer to kill off the offset press for commercial printing, and may even allow the printed page to compete with the iPad in terms of visual quality and individualization of content.”

As readers of this column know, we have often said that there is nothing wrong with print books – it’s the way that they are distributed that has placed the book industry in jeopardy. (See Publishing 3.0: A World Without Inventory, Part 1 and Part 2) Publishers must accept that the future of book distribution is POD. The unpretentiously-named drupa conference may bring that future closer.

Details in Rivals launch a printing revolution that could be as significant as Gutenberg

Richard Curtis

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