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BISG print-on-demand seminar: challenges in print world remain

Our friends at BISG recently held a webinar on printing on demand, and a number of issues confronting the book industry and paper shortages were mentioned.

Digital Book World has added a new breakout track for Digital Book World 2019 called Print Book World, designed to cover best practices and current trends related to the print industry and how these issues interact with digital.

Within this new track is David Hetherington, VP - Global Business Development, Books International, who will speak at Digital Book World 2019 on paper shortages and the impact they have on publishers in general, as well as how publishers think about digital formats and execution. We asked him a couple of questions about what is happening right now:

At BISG's recent print-on-demand seminar, concerns were raised about printing as well as paper shortages as we head into the second half of 2019. Are both of these affecting Books International? Are you seeing these trends?

Publisher concerns about capacity remain and in fact, appear to have been exacerbated. The shutdown of Thompson Shore, the prospect of more demand on domestic capacity if the China tariffs go into effect, and concerns about capacity being taken off line as a result of the LSC – Quad merger appear to have increased anxiety levels across the board. On the plus side, publishers clearly learned some painful lessons last year and no one seems to be taking press capacity or paper availability for granted.

Paper remains tight but at Books International, we follow the market closely, typically have a minimum of a three month supply of paper on the floor at all times and are constantly evaluating new grades of paper and alternative sources as a hedge against both shortages and price increases.

How has Books International sought to mitigate these risks? To what extent has technology / digital formats been part of the answer for Books International?

As Books International is a 100% digital manufacturing operation our customers are not facing any of the capacity challenges that offset manufacturers have presented to the publishing community . We have been steadily increasing our capacity and with a new Hewlett Packard 490 web press going live by the end of July 19, we’ll be increasing our monthly page capacity from 100 million pages to 300 million pages with bindery capacity being added to support the added output. We’ve invested well over $15M over the past two years with additional investment planned over the next 12 -18 months.

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