By Erin L. Cox
For the last five years, while many publishers have been focusing on digital innovation in order to capture the attention of what appeared to be a growing audience of tablet owners, some innovative publishers have been finding new ways to use print on demand services from Ingram Content Group to repackage content, enter into the print marketplace for the first time, and connect a new generation of readers to print books through personalization.
Because print on demand eliminates a number of costs by allowing publishers to print with a relatively short turn-around or through a small print-run, it has allowed some publishers to rethink their print business, offer new opportunities they previously had not explored, and even take bestselling ebooks and create print versions of those titles.
Lifestyle magazine publisher, Hoffman Media, known for Victoria and Cooking with Paula Deen, had never previously published books of their content in quite this way before. Greg Baugh, Vice President, Manufacturing saw that he could create the same premium product that they create with their magazines through hardcover books. But, he wasn’t sure whether the marketplace was ready for such a product, so he opted for print on demand to test their audience. “Though the publishing of books using print on demand is not entirely risk-free, there is very little labor involved and, though we have only just begun by publishing 6 titles so far, we are seeing sales that pleased us,” said Baugh.
Because Hoffman publishes magazines, they already had edited work with rich photography ready. So, the work they needed to do to make the content ready for a book was take the ads out, change the trim size, fix pagination flow, and alter the Table of Contents — about four hours work, all told. Though they have started with only six titles, Baugh said that they are expanding to further titles in the future.
Sourcebooks, whose CEO Dominique Raccah was named FutureBook’s Most Inspiring Digital Publishing Person of 2013, offers both the digital and print versions of their “Put Me in the Story” program which allows readers to personalize their favorite bestselling books. Partnering with such classic children’s brands as “Sesame Street,” The Berenstein Bears, and Hello Kitty, Sourcebooks offers the opportunity for parents to download the app to create an ebook or have a book printed using print on demand.
In an article in The New York Times when the program was announced, Raccah said, “We started with two very distinct challenges: How do we create a more meaningful bedtime reading experience for parents and their children? And, as a publisher, how do we build a digital future for children’s book authors and illustrators?” By allowing both ebook and printed personalized books for children, they are doing just that.