General George S. Patton Jr. once famously said that "A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later."
Book publishing is a dynamic industry undergoing fundamental transformation. In this state of flux, multitudes of experts, analysts, and other assorted "predictionists" can be heard attempting to explain, understand, and describe where we're headed.
Yes, we all agree digital technology has turned the old business models upside down. But at Kodak we view this industry transformation as a giant opportunity—providing you have the right plan or solution.
Today, slightly less than 5% of printed books are produced on digital equipment, but over the next five years, we believe that percentage will grow threefold and reach about 15% of all printed books.
Looking ahead, we are convinced digital publishing will help keep the printed book alive for a longer period of time. Even though the volume of books as a whole has decreased over the past couple of years, we think that trend could easily reverse direction. Evidence is emerging that the new economics of short-run digital publishing may ultimately cause more titles to become available, with more authors entering the market and more new uses of customized books in such areas as textbooks, technical guides, instruction manuals, and niche special-interest books.
In other words, more new business for those with a plan to win it.
The higher production capabilities of digital book manufacturing systems allow publishers to considerably reduce the life cycle costs of a book, keeping it in print longer and even bringing out-of-print titles back to life (another emerging opportunity that could prove sizable).
However, offset printing will continue to predominate as the primary book production method for a while longer. You can't ignore your offset business as you enter the digital market. When you work with Kodak, you'll work with a partner that has a deep understanding of both offset and digital printing environments, and can help you realize the benefits of balancing the tradeoffs between offset and digital.
Which brings us back to General Patton's observation. When you're not exactly sure what will happen tomorrow, you still need a solution for today. Not the perfect plan. Not a permanent plan. Just the best plan for right now.
In the following pages, we're offering exactly that: information you need to develop a new blended production model for your business that maximizes current opportunities while continuing to maximize the value of your current capital investments.
Kodak's blended production model brings together the best features of your existing offset presses with the KODAK PROSPER Press Platform. With offset and digital technology operating side by side in the same workflow, book manufacturers can effectively load balance—choose the best technology for each print job. And key to making it all work is an end-to-end unified digital workflow as the hub—the common denominator that drives maximum production efficiency whether the run is one or one million books.
The benefits of this blended model are many, designed to help book manufacturers not just survive but thrive in the ongoing transformation by creating new revenue opportunities and increasing margins. As we look at the opportunity to optimize the book manufacturing supply chain, we see a massive opportunity to streamline short- and long-run book production and realize sustainability gains along with cost savings.
Most importantly, this blended production model is "right for today"—it's neither a permanent nor an inflexible plan. Recognizing that the future of the book market will be directly linked to further advancements in digital publishing has convinced us that fast, powerful digital inkjet devices such as the KODAK PROSPER Press Platform driven by a unified digital workflow will prove to be the unchanging central element of whatever model emerges.
The PROSPER Press's high-speed KODAK Stream Inkjet Technology is more flexible and delivers high quality and provides low cost per book in today's short-run environment.
When it comes to color, publishers expect a level of quality that other digital platforms can't produce. Because
PROSPER Press delivers offset class quality, Kodak's color management and ink optimization lets you color match your digital and offset files, giving you the ability to decide which platform is better for each order, based on capacity and profitability. More effective load-balancing leads to faster reorders and higher overall profitability
We think the best way to enter the digital printing market is with a platform specifically designed to print books at the fastest rate possible, produce more books per labor hour at the lowest possible cost, and at the same time keeping your options open to upgrade the press as your business requirements change, so you can always stay up with the market... and one step ahead of the competition.
Karen Mitchell is Worldwide Director, Publishing Segment, at Eastman Kodak Company