Written by:
John Conley
Vice President, Publishing and Commercial Print
Xerox Corporation

I am tired of hearing technologist use the Dinosaur analogy when talking about the future of books and printing.  It is just not accurate.  Print in not dead and both the Book print supply chain and Book Products are evolving to meet the changing needs of their associated customers and constituentsFlying Dinosaur

There is undeniable change taking place which I think of as Evolution and not destitution.  As book mix changes based on E Books in Trade and Education Applications on iPads and other devices so will the mix of print facilities that serve publishers.  The large 1,000,000 square foot offset book factories are the TRex’s of the Book industry.  They are beginning to starve and have begun to shut down.

On the other hand the Print on Demand Book facilities powered by digital workflows, presses, and services are thriving and growing at a 20%+ CARG as the redefined supply chain looks for more and more agile and distributed print points.  POD printers have become the Birds in our evolution paradigm with industry DNA which comes from the “old” print world but a vision to be able to respond to the changing requirements of the new publishing environment and future print products.  These distributed POD Book Printing companies are technologically sophisticated and aggressive.  They are raptors with wings and they will continue to evolve and end up dominating the print part of the future Book Supply Chain.  They will continue to grow and prosper.

As this change continues to accelerate we move from the age of dedicated roles in the delivery system to more complex and multi functional roles for a single entity in the future.  Book Stores become Self Publishing Community Centers; POD Book Printers become global virtual warehouses for any Publisher; and Publishers become platform agnostic focused on the value of what they do and serving their customers in the media of their choice.

In this new and quickly emerging world what is to become of the Traditional Offset Book Printer and is the Cloud the enabling asteroid that becomes the final cataclysmic event?