The book publishing industry is dealing with two conflicting trends at the moment: the number of individual titles produced continues to rise while the number of print units sold continues to fall. The number of titles printed by traditional publishers rose 6% in 2011 to 347,178, after increasing 9% in 2010, according to Bowker's New Titles and Editions, 2002-2011 report released in June 2012. Bowker included titles produced by self-publishers in the traditional category for the first time in 2011, and it was books from such places as CreateSpace (an Amazon company), Author Solutions (a Penguin company), and Lulu that accounted for all of the increase in book output in 2011. Bowker's self-published count includes those titles that have ISBNs; including self-published titles without ISBNs would increase the number substantially. Title production from traditional houses was relatively flat in the year.

Total production in 2011 did fall, but that was due entirely to a steep drop in nontraditional titles, a category largely comprised of reprints of public domain titles sold primarily on the Web. The number of nontraditional titles grew at unsustainable rates in 2009 and 2010, and even after falling 69% in 2011, output of these books was just under 1.2 million.

While the output from traditional and self-published titles has been rising (up 61% between 2002 and 2011), the number of units of printed books sold continues to decline. Through September 4, 2012, units sold were down 13% compared to the same time in 2011 at outlets that report sales to Nielsen BookScan, a service that tracks sales at outlets representing 75% to 80% of all print sales. Sales are down in all major formats, with the most dramatic impact coming in mass-market paperback, where sales were down 25%. Unit sales of trade paperbacks were off 12%, while hardcover unit sales were down 8%.

The conflicting trends of falling print units and rising output pose threats and opportunities to a range of players within the book industry. Traditional publishers are naturally upping their investments in producing and selling digital content, while at the same time looking for ways to more efficiently produce print books that will still represent a significant portion of sales in the years to come. The new technologies, meanwhile, make it easier for authors to publish and sell their own books. In all but the rarest cases, however, sales of self-published print titles are small. In both cases, the trend points toward the need for short, quick turnaround printing.

A way for both traditional publishers and self-publishers to achieve their goals of producing the right amount of printed copies in the most cost-effective way is to use a blended approach of offset and short-run printing. In the pages that follow, Kodak provides a clear vision for publishers on how they can better compete in today's rapidly changing publishing environment.

As you read this special edition, which was produced with the support of Kodak, you will see how the KODAK PROSPER Press Platform and traditional offset solutions empower publishers and their print production partners to utilize the right workflow and printing solutions to fit with the demands of today's dynamic production environment while meeting the precision and efficiency needs of the marketplace.

A Publisher's Dream: Never Overprint Again: Digital Printing in 2012

A Solution for Right Now: Digital Printing in 2012

The Optimal Production Model for Today—and Tomorrow: Digital Printing in 2012

Optimizing Profitability In a Blended Production Environment: Digital Printing in 2012