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Digital Book Printing Conference, which will explore how publishers can use digital printing to be more efficient, innovative, and profitable Is Digital Printing the Key to a More Nimble Industry?

Q&A with Marco Boer, keynote and chair for the Book Business Digital Book Printing Conference, which will explore how publishers can use digital printing to be more efficient, innovative, and profitable.


October 23, 2014 By Jennifer Yu 



 On November 19th, Book Business will be holding the Digital Book Printing Conference, where leading publishers, book manufacturers, suppliers, and industry experts will come together to discuss the power of digital printing in a changing industry. The event, to be held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, will offer a full day of education and networking aimed at harnessing the advantages of digital printing.Though ebook consumption and self-publishing have eaten into traditional book sales, publishers still rely heavily on profits from printed volumes. And new technology is enabling publishers to bring these books to market more efficiently and more profitably. In fact, the publishing industry's sustainability just might hinge on such nimble approaches to business.Top of Form

We spoke to Marco Boer , chair and keynote speaker for the Digital Book Printing Conference, to get his thoughts on why digital printing is a priority for book publishers.

Why should publishers be interested in digital printing? What are the primary benefits and drawbacks?

Digital printing allows publishers the ability to take the risk on a small, unknown author who could turn out to be a real gem and enable him to get out via a traditional publishing route, as opposed to self-publishing -- which is really the biggest threat to traditional publishing. In order to take bigger risks, publishers have to be able to publish very short runs.

If you think that a particular author might not sell more than 200 books, you'll go with digital printing. But the benefit of digital is that you can easily scale that and print another 200 digitally in a couple days. If it turns out a book is going viral, you can move that to offset printing. The biggest concern is that if you do get this unexpected runaway hit because of viral marketing, you're going to have to find somebody who can handle those volumes.


How quickly do you see the shift from traditional to digital printing occurring?

Today, and this is on a worldwide basis, we believe something like 5% of the total printed pages are printed digitally. If you look at the number of titles, that could be as much as a third already. The U.S. is a little more aggressive than Europe, and the reason we're more advanced is partially because of how our distribution is structured. Amazon has basically completely upended how books get to market, and as a result, the ability to order these very short runs has brought all these new authors into the business. And they are a huge purveyor of digitally printed books.