Company Snapshots: Nord Compo

Company SnapshotsIn “Company Snapshots,” we pose a series of questions to leading providers of digital products and services and let them speak for themselves about what their company does, how they benefit publishers, and what they believe the biggest trends in the industry are. In today’s entry, we have Nord Compo.

Nord CompoWhat does your company do?
Nord Compo provides a wide range of end-to-end pre-press composition and digital services for book publishers of all sizes and genres. Starting with the original manuscript, we simultaneously create PDF print files and ebook files, according to the publisher’s style guides. We also bring OP books back to life, create enhanced ebooks and apps, and manage complex XML structuration projects for STM publishers. For large publishers, we provide highly automated throughput systems, capable of delivering a first proof of a complex work in under five minutes, based on a pre-established style template and a properly tagged input document.

What’s unique about your company compared to your competitors?
Many of our competitors rely entirely on cheap labor, sourced or outsourced from third world countries. By contrast, Nord Compo takes advantage of proprietary technology, developed over decades, to maximize efficiencies. While we also have a low-cost labor component, our overseas workforce in Madagascar is staffed entirely with our own full-time employees and represents only two-thirds of our 450-member workforce.

What’s the single biggest benefit your customers get from your service?
Nord Compo provides throughput speeds that are much faster than industry averages. Most steps in the end-to-end composition process are completed in two to three business days, faster if necessary. This allows publishers to reduce their end-to-end production cycle, leaving more time for selling and marketing activities while increasing the opportunities to generate reviews.

What’s the single biggest problem for your customers right now?
Reduced margins are the biggest challenge for most small to mid-sized publishers. Margins are being continuously and relentlessly squeezed by industry trends, including: consolidation of retail channels; consolidation among publishers and distributors; reduced print runs due to the growth of ebooks (higher per unit print costs). These factors force publishers to look for savings in all aspects of their business, including pre-press composition processes.

What’s the single biggest opportunity for your customers right now?
Publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to pursue alternative incremental revenue streams. Picture book publishers can take advantage of the growing market for “read-alongs” with word-by-word text highlighting. For all publishers, there is a private label reading app that allows publishers to establish their own online B2C bookstore, complete with a proprietary e-reader app. With scanning and double OCR, OP books can be brought back to life, as print and/or ebooks, both of which can be put into worldwide distribution through Ingram/LSI, Amazon and others.

What industry trends do you think will have the greatest impact on your customers over the next 24 months?
Industry consolidation; growth of worldwide POD distribution networks (i.e. LightningSource); growth of audiobooks and subscription models; use of enhanced ebooks in the educational markets; growth of B2C tools for connecting directly with consumers, especially for niche publishers in specific, easy-to-define verticals.

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