We recently spoke with John Conley, Vice President, Publishing and Commercial Print, at Xerox Corporation. Conley is responsible for setting both the direction and the action plans for Xerox Graphic Arts as it relates to both the development and execution of Book Solutions at Xerox. He works directly with the customers, sales, marketing, and manufacturing. Conley will be speaking at the 2012 Integrated Print Forum—along with Tod Shuttleworth of Thomas Nelson, Inc.—about the business opportunities emerging with the growth of self-publishing.
How can printers take advantage of the growth of the self-publishing market?
Self-publishing is a small-to-medium-sized printer’s domain. Obviously many printers already have the equipment to produce books. But self-publishing is more than a print opportunity—it’s a services opportunity.
But printers don’t have to do it all by themselves. Local independent bookstores have an audience of potential authors, and it makes sense for printers to partner with their local independent bookstores. Local independent bookstores can organize potential authors and printers can become the service and production arm for those authors.
Self-publishing really is a local geography opportunity for printers. It’s about fostering the brand of being the self-publishing center of your community.
Thomas Nelson, Inc. is an example of a large book publisher who understood the value of self-publishing and who jumped in with both feet. You’ll hear about this story from Tod Shuttleworth in our session at the Integrated Print Forum
Do you think retail publishing options like the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) represent competition for printers?
Right now the EBM is primarily in university environments and leading independent bookstores. For these retailers the EBM is essentially a new business and they have to learn how to run this new business. Self-publishing drives the volume in these locations today.
Soon the EBM will be printing photo books due to a partnership with Kodak. Even Wal-Mart will be utilizing EBM’s to offer photo books and backlist tiles. However, this is far different than the self-publishing model. Self-publishing involves more service and guidance for authors. This is where small-to-medium sized printers can have an advantage.
Self-publishing is a growing market and there is plenty of room for numerous publishing, printing, and distribution models. Just Google “self-publishing.”
Do you think the self-publishing market will continue to expand?
Right now, self-publishing is the only growing part of the book business.
Bowker reported that in 2011 new self-published titles grew by 59%, equating to roughly 212,000 new titles with ISBNs. Additionally, the many of self-published books don’t even get an ISBN—family cookbooks, family genealogies, personal collections of poetry, etc., so the true growth of self-published books is even greater.
And the self-publishing market offers more opportunities than just physical books. Many authors now want to create an e-book as well. Printers can partner with someone for this or even offer this service themselves.
What will attendees learn during your session at the Integrated Print Forum?
Attendees will learn why self-publishing is a growth opportunity for the entrepreneurial commercial printer. Attendees will learn how to find authors and cultivate relationships with them. They will learn how to find partners to offer additional publishing services. They will learn how to become regional self-publishing centers and create revenue streams from the growing self-publishing market.
What do you hope to take away from the Integrated Print Forum?
Of all of the events that Printing Industries of America holds, this is the one I enjoy the most. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about what my customers need!