By Edward Nawotka
UPDATE: Ingram adds Germany’s Books on Demand to Global Connect
“It was the demise of Borders [bookstore chain] that got many publishers truly worried,” says Skip Prichard, President and CEO of Ingram Content Group. “With less sales in their home market, they are looking for every outlet to maximize sales—particularly internationally.”
Late last month, Ingram Content Group launched Global Connect, a printing and distribution program, which will bring together its overseas print and distribution network—which includes facilities in the US, UK, France and Australia—under one umbrella. The announcement included the news that Ingram was also partner with Singular Digital, a leading book manufacturer in Brazil with extensive regional distribution that belongs to Empresas Ediouro Publicações, one of the largest media groups in the country.
That means that Brazilians who choose Ingram titles will have the book printed by Singular at its print-on-demand facilities and shipped as fast as any regular title from any other bookstore.
“The market for titles in English is estimated at being worth approximately US$30 million per year in Brazil, and Global Connect is indeed a great opportunity for American and British publishers to distribute their content worldwide,” said Carlo Carrenho, Executive Director of Singular Digital. “Considering the recent growth of the middle class in Brazil, as well as the boom in the number of college students in the Brazilian universities, private or public, this move makes complete sense. Our publishing industry is clearly growing—bookstore sales were up 9.6% in 2010—but we are looking to the international publishing community for content and partnerships to help us continue this upward trend.”
Ingram says the program is more than just a network of printers. “We go to a lot of conferences where people say they do POD, the people have co-opted the term. What differentiates Ingram’s Global Connect program from other printing solutions is the unique combination of print-on-demand alliances with established local retail channel relationships. Publishers will gain access to new sales channels without the worry of dealing with importation and customs issues, or shipping and warehousing costs.
“Now, you don’t have to worry about market entry requirements,” said Prichard. The process, as he describes it, is simple: “You say ‘we want x number of dollars for this book in this country’ and we make it happen. We work with the local printer and send the metadata. That feeds the local partner, who markets the title. As soon as someone buys it, we get an instant notice that the file is required, and we can send payment to the publisher.”
The upside for publishers is streamlined access to international markets, which in turn is likely to be an incentive for them to upload titles they might not otherwise have considered selling overseas; the upside for readers in a given market is a great selection and faster access to foreign titles. When in Brazil, it might take 40-60 days for a reader to have a book delivered from the United States, now with Global Connect delivery could be made in a week or less. What’s more, with Ingram’s international partnerships, the program is not limited to English-language distribution; that means French speakers living in partner countries, such as Brazil, could have access from books from France, and so on.
“We’re reshaping the content distribution model to help them realize their full business potential,” said Prichard “Making the right content available, in the right format, to the right audience is key to success.”