Monday, November 17, 2008

Decline starts to hit printers

The early signs of a decline in US publishing activity that we could all sense at Frankfurt are spreading through the supply chain. Chinese printers are starting to sweat.

In a sign of things to come, I've just had my first email from a Chinese printer offering a 'special price' due to a review of 'pricing structure.' The email also offered a shorter production time if I place my order quickly, ie right now. Today.

While that's good news for publishers in search of a printing bargain in the short term, it suggests print runs are coming down and projects are being shelved. That in turn suggests the soft retail environment is beginning to bite.

It's a downward spiral if you're not very careful. Like many publishers, I'm now looking at my own list next year and thinking: do I really need to print X thousand copies of that title? The answer is always: print as few as you can but don't forget to keep the profit margin. Fail to do that, and soon it won't just be printers writing begging letters.

No comments: