India vs. China, When it Comes to Printing, Which is Best?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-chief

Today’s feature looks at the collective efforts of Indian printers to stage a new pavilion at the Frankfurt Book fair to showcase the strength of the Indian printing industry. The major threat to Indian printers is China, which now dominates the market after decades of investment in infrastructure. The Chinese are far ahead of the Indians when it comes to color printing, but the Indians retain a distinct advantage when it comes to monochrome. That said, the Indian printers would like things to change.

Tell us, what has been your experience when deciding between a printer in China or India? Do you find one country has been more competitive than the other? Pricing? Shipping times? Error checking?

Share your experiences with us in the comments.

What Some Global Publishers are Saying About the Indian Printing Industry

David Murray, operation director of HarperCollins: “At HarperCollins, we use India for both, to service the domestic market in India as well as to exports for our local market. So we see India as a growth market in print. Plus the thirst for knowledge and the learning language, particularly English, in India is incredible. So we have a lot of local business in print coming from India. Predominantly the print outsourcing to India is two-color. I think there is a big gap between China and India in four-color not only on pricing or quality but also significant investment both in terms of equipment and the mindset of what’s acceptable to the export market.”

Neil Bradford, Random House divisional production director: “Getting past the mindset of publishers will be a great initiative but I also think that it will be a change for the Indian book printers as well who are stuck with a certain mindset. Because whenever I have seen a group of suppliers in a room, it doesn’t take very long before I start shafting each other. If you could keep your direction together, then I think that will be an achievement in itself. … The Indian domestic marketplace with a population of 1.3 billion has an enormous opportunity for everyone associated with the publishing industry. The slightest increase in the percentage sale in India probably outweighs the significant number of average sales.”

David Hetherington, Baker & Taylor vice president for academic/educational merchandising and digital printing: “The Indian Book City is designed to leverage India’s well-established capabilities in the pre-press area. The objective of this proximate location is to offer publishers across the globe an end-to-end solution rather than a single point of specialized service such as pre-press or printing, an integrated solution versus a one-off.”

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.