|Title:||United Kingdom top 20 book printers ranked by turnover in pounds sterling for 2010|
Start of full article - but without data
UK BOOK PRINTERS LEAGUE TABLE Rank Company Latest turnover X CPI UK pounds XXXm X Clays (St Ives) pounds XXm X Lightning Source UK pounds XX.Xm X MPG Books Group pounds XXm X Pureprint Group pounds XX.Xm X Butler, Tanner & Dennis pounds XX.Xm X Ashford Colour Press pounds XX.Xm X Polestar Wheatons pounds XX.Xm X Hampton Printing (Bristol) pounds XX.Xm XX TJ International pounds XX.Xm XX Cambridge Printing Services pounds XXm XX Henry Ling pounds Xm XX Charlesworth Group pounds X.Xm XX Bell and Bain pounds X.Xm XX Cambrian printers pounds X.Xm XX Latimer, Trend & Company pounds X.Xm XX Halston Printing Group pounds X.Xm XX Northend Creative Print Solutions pounds Xm XX Empress Litho pounds X.Xm XX Granite Colour pounds X.Xm Source: all figures taken from the PrintWeek Top XXX, accounts filed at Companies House or from the companies themselves
Publishers' requirements are as diverse as their portfolios, but when it comes to production needs, whether it's a global publishing giant or a niche fiction specialist, there is often much common ground.
THE ACADEMIC PUBLISHER
The history of the Oxford University Press (OUP) stretches back to the XXth century, and today it is the largest university press in the world Although it is perhaps most famous for its dictionaries and reference works, OUP is also a leading publisher of English language teaching books. It typically produces X,XXX new ISBNs a year, along with X,XXX conventional reprints. Paul Major, stock planning director for the global academic business, explains some of the challenges faced by the company.
'My game is about mitigation of risk. In order to achieve that and still maintain margins, we have to be creative. Print runs have come down over the past three-to-five years, and stock management is driving that. We used to print a year's worth of stock, nowadays even for titles that are more demanding in terms of the production specification, we will only print nine months' worth.
'For a four-colour, high-quality book you would normally have to print a lot to achieve the right sort of unit cost. But we are prepared to suffer a bit on margin in order to not hold stock.
'We've been running a print-on-demand operation for eight or nine years now. Originally, it was about keeping books alive and in print, now it's also part of our stock holding strategy. There is still a requirement to hold some stock and there can be advantages through consolidation of despatch.
'We've developed an auto-replenishment system for titles that sell between XXX and X,XXX copies a year. It's a fully automated system that generates orders based on a forecast and just keeps topping up the required stock level. So we might print XX books five times a year, rather than XXX copies all at once.
'Where we print is becoming more and more key. At the moment we print in one place and then ship it around the world. But we are looking to either link up with printers who have global partners or organise it ourselves. The focus is getting to market quicker and reducing the carbon footprint. Over the next six months I'll be taking an in-depth look at that financially, environmentally, and from a consumer perspective. Ideally we'd like to be able to drop an order into one place and they would facilitate it.
'Electronic trading is even more important. We are taking the administration out of the supply chain, and printers have to get on board with that. For our auto-replenishment concept, we pushed and cajoled printers to come up with something where we could print XX to XX copies and get the same unit cost.
'Another area of interest is digital colour books. We're waiting to see how inkjet colour comes on in terms of quality because the price of digital colour isn't right for us at the moment. If you have a XXX-X,XXXpp book in full-colour then the per page cost is prohibitive. From a quality perspective, for books such as high-quality medical titles then I don't think inkjet will get there. For colour text books it will probably be perfectly fine. I'm hoping inkjet will be able to sweep those up.
'Academic publishers have embraced e-books and I can see trade print suffering once e-books really take off. We are gearing up for a heavy avalanche of e-book sales, it's a big percentage growth on a relatively small number. The bulk of the business is actual books and that is still growing. 2014 might be the tipping point for e-books. We've recently done some surveys on students and there's a XX-XX split, e-books to real books. When the current student crop become the next generation of lecturers, maybe that will change.'
THE ART PUBLISHER
The National Gallery in London is home to the national collection of western European painting from the XXth century through to the XXth. Through its commercial arm, the National Gallery Company, it also sells publications, prints, posters and souvenirs that are available via its bookshops and also online. Its own range of National Gallery books includes exhibition catalogues, guidebooks, and collection books, the remit of production manager Jane Hyne.
'We are continually exploring ways to produce shorter runs, but we haven't managed to make digital work for us yet due to our binding requirements - the sizes we print at, and the fact that we require our sections to be sewn. Digital formations are not big enough yet.
'Our Nirvana would be print-on-demand for our colour books. It's an interesting time and we are watching short-run developments in every part of the company. We're not scared of digital, though and we have embraced it where it suits us. For example, we've been using it within the gallery for poster printing for around eight years. We're also using it for personalised greetings cards and some postcards, although in the main it's more cost-effective for us to produce our postcards litho because we sell so many of them and have it all organised in the right print formations.
'But our books are not just books, they tend to be momentos. Cost and colour are critical to us and we worry about colour profiling - we tend to only work with people who really understand that. Our quality and timing expectations are very high; even with reprints, we see every running sheet. If, for example, we are working on a 'live artist' project then it's very special.
'We need to work with companies who are used to handling interesting personalities, who have those special people skills and the confidence to deal with external personalities. Then the artist themselves don't lose confidence.
'We still look for old-school skills and we test them. We shop around and negotiate hard, but within a known cluster of suppliers, we don't tend to chop and change. We are always very clear about our objectives when we start a relationship with a printer.'
THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER
Edinburgh-based Canongate Books is an independent publisher of fiction and new writing talent and its list includes niche titles as well as bestsellers such as An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington. The company is one of the founding members of the Independent Alliance, a global alliance of XX UK publishers and their international partners with a shared vision of editorial excellence, original, diverse publishing, innovation in marketing and commercial success. Production director Caroline Gorham provides some insights into how the company is adapting its manufacturing requirements to a changing market.
'Although our runs have remained constant over the past few years it's more about scope these days. We need to mine our backlist in ways we couldn't do previously.
'We have recently been able to bring XXX Canongate Clasics back into print because of on-demand print technology. Our regular suppliers, CPI and Clays, have developed realistic pricing for very short runs, which make it possible to supply previously uneconomical titles.
'The creation of auto-replenishment systems was helpful. We are soon to launch our new website and hope this will be another forum for our content, including print editions. As the high street becomes less certain, ways of supplying shorter and faster printing become more crucial. Working towards making this combination more economical is a high priority.'
THE BOOK PACKAGER
Eddison Sadd is an international book packager founded in 1982. The London-based business has established itself in the 'book-plus' mind, body and spirit market whereby titles are packaged with related items. During the mid-noughties, the firm saw that its market was changing and began moving towards the general gift market and this led to the creation of its successful Bookinabox range - incorporating a book and accompanying items in an appealing gift box. The firm's production director is Sarah Rooney.
'We are certainly producing shorter runs with increased frequency. On a number of occasions (although this is not the norm), clients have confirmed reprint orders before we have delivered the current order to their warehouse. This is, of course, not very cost efficient. It goes without saying that two runs of X,XXX is going to cost more time and money than one XX,XXX printing. It is also the case that when trying to build a co-edition, publishers are advising they are not ready for a reprint and a few weeks later they are confirming urgent reprints - it would appear that publishers are nervous over holding too much stock, or they have limited warehouse space.
'There seems to be a shift towards ordering titles much later, which leaves no room in our schedules. We print the majority of our titles in China and we have always stuck to a two-month turnaround from order to delivery to the warehouse on book reprints, and three months for book-plus, we are seeing that our clients are happy to accept this timing for books, but on our book-plus titles we are getting squeezed to two and a half months. One thing we have noticed recently is, a few years ago, if a project was ready early then publishers were happy to take receipt. Now we are being advised that early delivery means earlier payments and they can't accept it as budgets are being watched closely and it can cause problems for them.
'We hear a lot about the need for the FSC and environmentally friendly stock. However, due to the higher price, the bottom line is we haven't been able to incorporate this stock for many clients, except our German clients who always lead the way in environmentally friendly materials. In the early days of Eddison Sadd, most of our full-colour manuals were large hardback format, but now we are noticing that small and paperback is the common trend. People don't seem to have room in their bags or their book shelves for the library style of ever-lasting book production.'
A PRINTER'S PERSPECTIVE
In recent years, we have had more frequent requests for, and insistence on:
- World-class service
- Environmentally accredited paper/materials (though not always at the expense of commercial consideration and speed-to-market)
- Fewer copies, more often (generally, but not always)
- Direct deliveries (with a seemingly endless list of compliance criteria)
- Distribute-to-print model (tie-ins with overseas manufacturers to improve speed to market)
- Full product life-cycle offering under one roof (POD, short-run digital, longer-run litho)