Books: Publishing, or Publishing and Printing

SIC 2731

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in publishing, or in publishing and printing, books and pamphlets. Establishments primarily engaged in printing or in printing and binding (but not publishing) books and pamphlets are classified in SIC 2732: Book Printing.

Industry Snapshot

The book publishing industry experienced extraordinary growth after 1963, when annual book sales were $1.68 billion. According to the Book Industry Study Group, book sales totaled $40.3 billion in 2008.

Books sales are driven by a number of factors. Favorable demographics have contributed to sales growth in such categories as adult trade and education texts and materials. Publishers have found support in a growing literate population with high disposable personal incomes. Demand for adult trade and hardbound books reflects strong best-seller lists.

In the late 2000s, e-books were no longer the only embodiment of digital publishing technology. New technologies emerged in the 2000s to provide full-text access to books around the world, including those out of print. Google launched an ambitious program to scan every book in the world, making their contents available to Internet users. Meanwhile, On Demand Books LLC invented a paperback printing machine that enabled consumers to print an entire book in mere minutes, and Random House created the Espresso Book Machine, which was a print on demand (POD) device that could print a book for about a penny a page.

Organization and Structure

Products within the book publishing industry can be divided into six major categories: adult trade; juvenile trade; mass market; professional, technical, and reference; university press; and religious books. Trade books, representing the largest share of the book market, encompassed all general interest publications, including adult and juvenile fiction, nonfiction, advice, and how-to books. In 2007, the trade category had net dollar sales of more than $8.5 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers. That year, in the mass market paperback category, publishers' net dollar sales were $1.1 billion. The expansion of large chain bookstores and the population growth among school-age children and high-income adults were among the factors that contributed to the growth of these sales.

The handful of large, multibillion dollar publishers consolidated many of their smaller imprints in the 1990s in order to cut costs and reposition themselves for the onset of electronic publishing. According to Malcolm Jones of Publishers Weekly, most of these companies believed that they operated within "the publishing aspect of the communications industry." However, this concentration of power among relatively few publishers led to criticism regarding the quality and diversity of materials published. Industry observers saw an increasing role for small presses to publish works of literary quality that did not necessarily have enormous sales potential. Because of the proliferation of small publishers, the book publishing industry is not highly concentrated compared to other industries. There are relatively few barriers to entry in many categories.

The book publishing process is fairly similar across the product categories. Most books begin as a concept or idea, which is either submitted by an outside author or generated internally by the publisher. The concept is usually refined using market analysis, and the final decision to proceed results from a comparison of the product's expected costs and potential revenues. Such decisions are increasingly made by committee consensus versus the decree of one individual editor. Next is the actual compilation of the book's content, followed by editorial work to ensure its quality and tailor it specifically to a target market. Meanwhile, the marketing and art departments design the finished product, including type style, page size and layout, presentation of graphics, and appearance of the cover. Then the book is typeset in final, camera-ready form for printing, either by an outside vendor or with an in-house desktop publishing system. Finally, the book is transformed into plates, printed, and bound, usually by an outside vendor or affiliated company rather than the publishing house.

Volume, which is the size of a book's print run, is an important factor in achieving profitability. Non-educational publishers normally hold first hardcover runs to a range of 5,000 to 50,000 copies, while books by best-selling authors may merit first runs of more than 300,000 copies. Per-unit fixed costs are a function directly related to the size of the print run. The American Association of Publishers indicated that the typical manufacturing cost for a mass-market paperback is less than 10 percent of gross sales, while the average for all books is approximately 25 percent.

Returned books represent a substantial cost to publishers. The cost of returns includes "handling, processing, and disposal." Standard & Poor's reports that such costs cut heavily into publishers' pretax profit margins in the early twenty-first century. In an August 1996 article in The New York Times, returns were called "the most significant barometer of the financial success of a book, a measurement more critical than a ranking on a best-seller list because rejects cut directly into profits. Historically, publishers have agreed to take back returns and absorb the loss to entice bookstores to stock their titles."

Primary markets where book publishers sell their products are chain and independent retail bookstores; college bookstores; elementary and high schools; and libraries, universities, and other institutions. Among these markets, large chain bookstores proliferated and gained importance in the early 1990s, making book buying a form of entertainment and siphoning sales from mail order and book clubs. In addition, the library market, although small, is considered crucial in that it guarantees publishers a minimum number of sales and, traditionally, requires comparatively little in terms of marketing attention. Online bookselling, the newest and fastest growing retail format, provides consumers with relatively quick access to millions of titles purchasable via the Internet.

Background and Development

The U.S. book publishing industry grew after the Civil War, as the country moved from an agrarian to an industrial society and people increasingly sought information about emerging technology. World War I increased demand for engineering manuals, especially about radio communication, aviation, construction, and aerial photography. During World War II, training manuals gained importance as factories had to hire untrained people to replace employees who became soldiers. Publishers who could provide this information quickly received special allocations of paper, which was scarce during the war.

Beginning in the mid-1800s, publishing houses provided gathering places for literary talent of the time, especially in London and New York City. Most writers formed relationships with particular editors, who often became well-known public figures in their own right, and followed them from one publishing house to another. Several publishing houses became prominent in the fight against censorship in the early twentieth century. One celebrated case occurred in the 1930s when Bennett Cerf, one of the founders of Random House, intentionally notified U.S. Customs about the arrival from Paris of James Joyce's allegedly obscene novel Ulysses. Cerf wanted Customs to confiscate the book so that he could fight the censorship in court. Publishing houses that supported freedom of speech often attracted the top literary and editorial talent.

Paperback books first appeared in the United States in the 1770s, but they did not gain a wide audience until Simon & Schuster introduced its line of Pocket Books in 1939. These early soft-cover editions sold for 25 cents each and met with great success, with over 25 million copies shipped overseas during World War II. Public acceptance of paperbacks increased the overall market for books and made it necessary for publishers to adopt high-volume, low-cost production methods.

In Publishers Weekly, John F. Baker called the 1940s and 1950s "the golden age of publishing," when the industry was a "comparatively small business producing a comparatively limited number of books for a dozily elite readership whose access to bookstores was limited by geography." However, as the U.S. population grew and became more educated, book publishing boomed. This rapid growth culminated in what Baker described as "the decade of the Great Communications Conglomerate Takeover" in the 1960s. Publishing houses either acquired one another or joined forces with communications conglomerates that held interests in newspapers, magazines, television, and motion pictures. By the early 1970s, the industry was dominated by about 15 giant companies. The consolidation of power continued in the early 1990s, when about seven publishers controlled the industry.

Many of the challenges facing the book publishing industry were reflected in the children's literature boom of the late 1980s. Children's books traditionally represented a quiet, consistent segment of the market and were virtually ignored by most large houses except for the revenue generated by the classics year after year. However, sales of children's books exploded during the "baby boomlet" that was a result of the financially secure baby-boom generation reaching child-bearing age, increasing from $336 million in 1985 to $1.1 billion in 1992. As more publishers jumped on the bandwagon and expanded their children's divisions, annual output grew from 3,800 titles in 1985 to more than 5,000 in 1991, and the number of children's-only bookstores doubled. However, such rapid expansion led to an oversaturation of the market with books of mediocre quality, which was compounded by the recession and decreases in library budgets. As a result, sales growth suddenly dropped by half, retailers returned unprecedented numbers of unsold books, and many publishers were forced to reevaluate their approaches in the face of fierce competition. According to M. P. Dunleavy in Publishers Weekly, "the publishing of children's books has not only grown up but completed an odyssey," and the industry learned in the process that it must adopt a longer-term outlook in order to survive.

The book publishing industry faced a transformation in the mid-1990s. Many observers noted that the industry, which once could be characterized as gentlemanly and literary, had quickly become more cutthroat and businesslike. As evidence, National Review cited the trend for large publishing houses to replace long-time chief executives, best known for their "literary sensibilities," with industry outsiders steeped in "modern management techniques." As a result, many employees within the publishing industry shifted their focus from building relationships with authors and carefully tailoring manuscripts to cutting costs and analyzing profit and loss statements. In The Nation, Andre Schiffrin, former managing director of Pantheon Books, noted that an increasing trend among publishing houses was to set higher and higher profit targets, which often ranged from 12 to 15 percent in 1996, a figure that contrasted starkly with the typical 1920s publishing company's average profit of 4 percent. Rising overhead also contributed to the financial strain placed on publishers in the mid-1990s, making many companies even more vulnerable.

Some analysts felt that this shift toward modernization was overdue, since book publishing faced challenges on a number of fronts but lagged behind other industries in seeking efficiencies in production, distribution, and marketing. One problem addressed by many large houses was their overproduction of titles, which resulted in an average of 30 percent of trade books, and up to 48 percent of paperbacks, being returned unsold for credit. Retailers tended to over-order some titles in an attempt to predict the next bestseller and to attain volume discounts. In response, some publishing houses used new technology to make shorter production runs more profitable, and their average first-runs dropped significantly in the late 1980s. In addition, several publishers began experimenting with "no-return" policies with the goal of encouraging booksellers to make more realistic orders.

Another factor affecting the book publishing industry was the proliferation of large, influential retail bookstore chains. While these chains expanded the overall market for books, they also had the power to limit pricing and affect the selection of books that publishers could offer profitably. Some critics argued that by catering to a mass market, chains caused publishers to create books of broad appeal, but low quality. For example, in the early 1990s many publishers adopted genre publishing, focusing on books with similar themes in order to limit their risk. One highly criticized result of this trend was the battle to attain publishing rights for headline-grabbing, "true-life" stories of questionable literary value, such as celebrity scandals and lurid crimes. Some analysts also worried that chains would disrupt the business of independent booksellers, who were often closely linked to tastes within their communities and provided a market for more eclectic books. In 1996 The Nation noted that, "In a series of lawsuits brought by the American Booksellers Association, the independents have charged that the large publishers favor the chains through unfair practices." The argument was that the big publishers allegedly paid generously to have their bestsellers prominently displayed and advertised within the stores while small publishers did not have the means to compete in such a system.

The two biggest retail bookselling chains, Borders and Barnes & Noble, expanded aggressively throughout the United States, opening outlets reaching from New York's World Trade Center to the West Coast. In 1995 Borders boasted sales of $1.75 billion while Barnes & Noble posted a total revenue figure of $1.97 billion.

Book publishers also faced a challenge to their continued profitability due to the 1980s legacy of offering huge cash advances to prominent authors. Examples of this included HarperCollins' highly publicized 1994 offer to pay Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich an advance of $4.5 million for future writings, and a 1996 offer by Random House of $2.5 million to former Clinton administration political strategist Dick Morris. Some industry executives likened the impact of this trend to mass suicide by publishers, since it meant that only one in five products were successful enough to turn a profit. In addition, large advances were criticized within the industry for preventing publishers from nurturing talented, yet less well-known, authors. However, other industry observers argued that the proceeds from one bestseller could often support a number of "more literary" releases.

Book publishers competed with cable and satellite television, movies, video games, multimedia products, and the Internet for the leisure time of their traditional customers. On a positive note, Publishers Weekly cited a study in 1996 that indicated "spending on reading material by households with computers is at least as high as spending on such material by those without." In addition, the recession of the early 1990s led to cutbacks in education and library funding, with subsequent reductions in book purchases by these markets. These trends reinforced industry concerns about declining literacy rates in the United States, and led several publishing houses to participate in programs to encourage a more book-oriented culture.

Many publishers also faced shrinking profit margins in key areas. For example, author royalties generally accounted for 10 to 15 percent of the cover price of trade books, which left publishers with an average margin of 9.5 percent. However, for textbooks and professional books, which were less expensive to produce and usually sold in larger quantities, houses obtained an average margin of 20 percent. Many book publishers responded to these challenges by cutting costs, streamlining operations, adopting new technologies, and investigating the marketing potential of electronic products such as CD-ROMs and online information delivery.

As John F. Baker explained in Publishers Weekly, "Publishing is changing quite markedly, to the extent that there's more caution, a much greater sense of the potentials, up and down, of the market, and a determination to focus more sharply, among the big houses; new skills, better distribution, and a real sense of a significant role to play, among the smaller ones." As the U.S. economy began to recover in the mid-1990s, the outlook for the book publishing industry also began to improve. Shifting demographics pointed toward higher enrollment levels in schools and colleges, and the Clinton administration appeared likely to increase funding for libraries and the arts. Many publishers expected growth in medical and health care-related titles to correspond with concerns of the aging U.S. population, as well as growth in professional and technical titles to support rapid changes in office technology. In 1995, the latter expectation was fulfilled, evidenced in part by an 82 percent increase in revenues from the sale of computer books for that year alone.

Industry consolidation had a profound effect on the book publishing industry in the late 1990s. Adult trade publishing became more concentrated in 1998 with the acquisition of the largest U.S. trade publisher, Random House Inc., by German conglomerate Bertelsmann AG and subsequent merger with Bantam Doubleday Dell (BDD), which Bertelsmann already owned. The two publishers together accounted for 66 new bestsellers in 1998 and held 43 percent of Publishers Weekly's available weekly bestseller positions. Counting Random House and Bantam Doubleday Dell as separate entities, the top seven adult trade publishers accounted for more than 88 percent of Publishers Weekly's bestseller lists in 1998. The other top five adult trade publishers were Simon & Schuster, Penguin Putnam Inc., HarperCollins, Time Warner, and Hearst.

Another major deal involved Simon & Schuster and the United Kingdom-based Pearson plc. Simon & Schuster sold its Education, Reference, and International Group, as well as its Business and Professional Group, to Pearson for $4.6 billion. Also in 1998, The Times Mirror Co., deciding to focus on its newspaper publishing operations, sold several book publishing operations to Reed Elsevier plc, including legal publisher Matthew Bender.

Further consolidation of adult trade book publishing occurred in mid-1999, when News Corp. acquired William Morrow and Avon Books from the Hearst Corporation. The acquisition of the Hearst Book Group was estimated at $180 million. News Corp. already owned HarperCollins and religious publisher Zondervan Publishing, among other properties.

In 1998 consumers bought books through a variety of distribution channels. According to the NPD Group, large chain bookstores accounted for 25.3 percent of adult book purchases, followed by book clubs (18 percent) and independent and small chain bookstores (16.6 percent). Other channels, each accounting for less than 10 percent of adult book purchases, included warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers, mail order, food and drug stores, discount stores, used books, the Internet, and multi-media.

One concern was the retail sector's increasing preoccupation with the sale of best-selling titles. This focus made it difficult for publishing companies to rely on the strength of their backlists, as they had done in past years. In the October 14, 2002, issue of Publishers Weekly, one industry player commented that the so-called superstores had "devolved into being what the mall stores were, just more so." This point was especially worrisome to smaller, independent presses, and made the evolution of innovative, alternative distribution methods more pressing.

Another concern in the early 2000s centered on the possible future demise of books. In 2003, Publishers Weekly reported that unit book sales declined 16 percent between 1996 and 2001, even though consumers spent more money on books overall. In addition, the publication cited research from Veronis Suhler Stevenson that indicated Americans were spending less time reading books. In 1996, Americans devoted 123 hours each year to reading books. By 2001, this number had decreased to 109 hours. The article also revealed that as a group, book buyers were getting older. People between the ages of 25 and 39 bought fewer books than in past years, a statistic that suggested that reading was falling in popularity as a form of entertainment with successive generations. These concerns prompted some publishers to develop creative marketing strategies to reach new readers. For example, HarperCollins developed a promotion with a leading cookie seller to market a series of books targeted at children, while Simon & Schuster partnered with packaged goods heavyweight General Mills to distribute miniature books in boxes of cereal.

In fact, innovative distribution methods increased in popularity. By 2003, a growing number of books were available to consumers in electronic formats. In addition to the largest online booksellers like Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, retailers like eBook Mall offered more than 25,000 titles as "e-books," which consumers could download electronically. Even publishers like Penguin marketed a number of titles in this manner. These ranged from time-honored classics to newer releases from best-selling authors. The increasing popularity and availability of electronic books was driven largely by the proliferation of portable devices and software, including e-book readers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and e-book applications for desktop and laptop computers, that made it possible for one to conveniently download and read content via the Internet.

This digitization of books propelled the emergence of remarkable new technologies in the mid-2000s. On Demand Books LLC launched the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), a machine that prints, binds, and trims individual paperback books for consumers in mere minutes. Beta-tested in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Egypt, in 2006, the first commercial EBM was installed at the New York Public Library in July 2007. The fully automatic machine allows consumers to select a digital book from a computer browser and then produces a bound, paperback book in as few as three minutes. The benefit to consumers is two-fold: the ability to obtain obscure titles and, for individuals in remote locations, the ability to obtain books that may readily available elsewhere. On Demand hopes that the EBM will also bolster the industry by eliminating publishers' concerns about the commercial appeal of titles, freeing them to focus on quality instead. "Even a book that's only ever going to sell one copy would be economical to produce on this machine," said Thor Sigvaldason, chief technology officer for On Demand, in Digital Imaging Digest.

Google Inc. launched the Google Book Search with the ultimate goal of scanning every book in the world in order to make them searchable, free of charge, by individuals around the globe. The project has two branches: the Partner Program and the Library Project. The Partner Program obtains book text from publishers, provides users with searchable previews of the book, and then directs them to available retail outlets for the book. The Library Project teams with libraries to scan every book in their collection. For those that are in the public domain, that are no longer copyright restricted, the full text is made available for the user to read and print. In 2007, participating libraries included the New York Public Library; the universities of Princeton, Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford; and the University of California, whose system of 100 libraries represents the world's largest research and academic library. By 2009, Google had digitized more than 7 million books.

The seventh and final novel in the hugely successful Harry Potter series was released in July 2007, shattering all records. Scholastic Corp., its publisher, sold 8.3 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release. Even prior to the release date, Amazon.com sold 2.2 million preordered copies, 1.4 million of which were for U.S. customers. Although this book undoubtedly inflated industry-wide sales figures for 2007, the end of the series left publishers looking to fill Potter's void in future sales.

Current Conditions

The U.S. book publishing industry as a whole posted net revenue of $40.3 billion in 2008, according to a report by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). This represented a 1.0 percent increase from the previous year. The number of books sold reached 3.1 billion in 2008. Religious books experienced significant growth and were expected to continue to grow through 2011 at an average rate of 4.9 percent. Overall, net sales for U.S. book publishers were projected to reach $45.2 billion by 2011.

Major issues for book publishers in the late 2000s, according to the BISG, were the effects of the slow U.S. economy and the increase in digital publishing models. The latter trend was evidenced by figures from the Association of American Publishers that showed that sales of e-books grew almost 56 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Industry Leaders

Random House already was the largest general trade book publisher in the English-speaking world when it was acquired by German entertainment and publishing conglomerate Bertelsmann AG in 1998 and merged with Bantam Doubleday Dell (BDD), which Bertelsmann already owned. The new publishing entity continued with the name of its senior unit, Random House Inc., and had worldwide sales of nearly $2.6 billion in 2007. Based in New York, Random House's publishing operations included The Ballantine Publishing Group, Bantam Books, Broadway Books, The Crown Publishing Group, Dell, Doubleday, The Knopf Publishing Group, Random House Audio Publishing Group, and Fodor's Travel Publications, among others. Random House became the publisher of the best-selling adult hardcover in history when it published Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, a title that had sold 80 million copies by 2009 and had been translated into 44 languages.

New York-based HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., became the second largest trade publisher in 1999 when it acquired Hearst Corp.'s trade book publishing imprints William Morrow & Co. and Avon Books. In 2008, the company had revenues of $1.3 billion. Its publishing groups include operations in the United Kingdom, India, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand, and encompass such U.S. imprints as Perennial and Quill. In addition, the company has an e-book division called PerfectBound.

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of London-based The Penguin Group, one of the world's largest English-language trade book publishers. Among the imprints of Penguin Group (USA) are Berkley Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, and Viking.

Simon & Schuster Inc. was founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. The company went public in 1966 and was acquired by Gulf + Western in 1975. Simon & Schuster expanded aggressively during the 1980s by launching a dozen new imprints and acquiring interests in textbooks and software. In 1993, Simon & Schuster acquired the 150-year-old Macmillan Inc. from the estate of British media mogul Robert Maxwell. In 2006, the company was acquired by CBS Corporation. Simon & Schuster publishes approximately 2,000 titles each year under imprints that include Pocket Books, The Free Press, and Scribner.

With Harry Potter in its catalog, Scholastic Corp. in New York was among the largest children's book publishers worldwide. The company also published professional education material, software, videos, and magazines. In the late 2000s Scholastic sold about 320 million books a year in the United States, as well as products in 140 other countries. Known for selling through book fairs and book clubs, the firm reported revenues of $1.8 billion in fiscal 2009.

Workforce

In 2008 the overall publishing industry (including book, newspaper, periodical, and directory publishing) employed 632,280, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS). The BLS predicted an average annual increase of 5.3 percent in employment in the publishing industry between 2006 and 2016.

In an assessment for Black Enterprise, Lolis Eric Elie called book publishing "an industry that rewards creativity, treasures personal taste, and provides opportunities to combine work with a socially responsible endeavor." In addition to editorial work, publishing offered career potential for individuals with backgrounds in business, marketing, sales, graphic design, and computer applications. Traditionally, however, "low entry-level salaries, long hours, and slow advancement have deterred those who tried their hand in the field," Elie continued.

According to the annual survey of salaries in the book publishing industry conducted by Publishers Weekly total compensation for employees in the industry in 2008 averaged $96,600 for men and $66,000 for women. This discrepancy is attributed to the uneven distribution of female editors and male executives. Entry-level editors received an nationally average annual salary of $32,625, marketing sales and support positions averaged $35,000, and senior management averaged $100,000.

Salaries for editorial and sales positions varied by geographic region. Editorial workers in the West region earned the highest salaries ($59,000), while those in the Midwest earned the lowest ($47,000). Those geographic trends held true for sales positions as well, with sales managers earning $70,000 in the West and $55,000 in the Midwest.

Research and Technology

The traditional printed book might never disappear completely, but technology revolutionized production, distribution, and nearly every other aspect of operations in the publishing industry. As Publishers Weekly predicted, "The definition of 'publisher' will change. It will not just refer to a person who makes books, but a person who holds information or intellectual property and disseminates that information in any way he or she can benefit from it." Most publishers began to store information in digital form on computer systems so it could be readily translated into a variety of electronic product formats. While the conversion to the new technology was often difficult and costly for publishers, most electronic products essentially repackaged information the publishers already owned and thus offered higher margins than print products.

The advent of new technology raised a number of interesting issues within the publishing industry. Publishers faced unprecedented competition from software and communications companies entering the electronic publishing market. These industries began to converge through partnerships and acquisitions into something analysts called "the new media." Authors and publishers disagreed about who owned electronic publication rights, and significantly more complex contract negotiations became the norm. Additionally, some confusion arose about which channels of distribution would be most appropriate for electronic products, since bookstores, software stores, online subscriptions, and direct mail all formed possible outlets. Many publishers were concerned about what would emerge as the dominant technological platform for electronic publishing. Libraries initiated the movement toward electronic publishing by purchasing reference products in online and CD-ROM formats. In addition, by the late 2000s, devices like PDAs, e-book readers, and computer laptops helped to bolster the market for electronic books available via the Internet. All of these issues had strong implications for the current organization and future staffing of book publishers, in addition to creating a whole new host of legal issues. In late 2009, for example, Spring Design sued Barnes & Noble, saying the retailer violated a nondisclosure agreement when it copied features from Spring Design's Alex e-reader in the creation of its Nook e-reader. Such devices competed with products like the Sony Reader, the iRex iLiad, the Jinke Hanlin e-Reader, CyBook by Bookeen, and Amazon's original e-reader, the Kindle, which was released in 2007. By 2009 Amazon also offered a Kindle application for iPhones. Companies continued to launch e-products and applications that went one step further in technology, convenience, and extra features.

Overall, accessing information electronically offered a number of advantages for consumers. For example, CD-ROM products allowed easy sorting of information from a wide variety of databases and made it possible to combine text, graphics, sound, and animation. Some examples of innovative CD-ROM products are a dictionary that could pronounce words, an encyclopedia that could show video clips about entries, and a book that could help a child learn to read. Another common format for electronic information was online through computer subscription services and via the Internet. Online materials were less expensive for publishers to distribute than paper, provided quick publication for time-sensitive information such as medical advances, and were easier in some cases for users to search.

With the growth of the Internet, textbook publishers established web sites that provided online learning resources tied in to their print products. Scott Foresman, a subsidiary of Pearson plc, created the Know Zone, an interactive, online environment that linked classroom work for elementary and middle school students with home study. After the National Science Teachers Association developed sciLINKS, which links textbook topics to relevant web sites, science textbook publishers Holt, Rinehart & Winston and Harcourt Brace incorporated sciLINKS into their textbooks.

Computers also had a significant impact on book production technology. Desktop publishing systems that featured sophisticated yet simple graphic design software to manipulate digitized text and images into publishable form made many operations quicker and less expensive for publishers. For example, desktop publishing made it possible for houses to reprint fewer copies of books more often and thus avoid inventory costs. In addition, the technology allowed publishers to save up to 70 percent in typesetting and other production costs. However, since publishers performed more operations themselves, desktop publishing led to significant changes in the roles of suppliers. In response, many typesetters and printers offered creative services, such as 24-hour turnaround, consulting, and training in the use of electronic systems, and management of huge amounts of data, in order to continue to add value.

Although on-demand printing has been available since the 1990s, it is a technology that publishers have been slow to embrace. Book distributor Ingram initiated its "Lightning Print" program, which enables publishers as well as authors to bring an out-of-print title back into print with a minimal investment. Once such an "on-demand" book is back in stock at Ingram, it becomes immediately available through every Internet retailer, including Amazon.com, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. On-demand printing has the capability to bring many out-of-print titles back into print in an economical way.

By the mid-1990s the Internet was used by hundreds of publishing companies and distributors alike, not only as a vehicle for advertising their goods and displaying product catalogs online but also as a means for sidestepping the middleman in sales transactions. Amazon.com, the first name in online book sales, was still the largest by 2009, although there were dozens more online booksellers and traditional brick and mortar stores with online shopping and ordering capabilities. According to Steve Potash, in Publishers Weekly, "After software, books are the most popular type of product sold on the Internet." One effect of Internet book sales has been to give new life to backlist titles, as consumers began to spread their book-buying dollars over a broader range of titles through online purchases.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

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