The impacts of technology-led change on the book industry

Vaughan Patterson, sales manager for the production printing business group at Ricoh SARicoh will attend the London Book Fair 2014 where it will reveal key findings from research into the European book industry and the impacts of technology-led disruption – trends now being taken seriously by several publishers in South Africa.

At the show from April 8 to April 10 in Earls Court, London, Ricoh will address the challenges and opportunities posed by new technology and consider the next innovations on the horizon. Experts will also share insight into the past, present and future of the European book industry, complemented by new Ricoh-commissioned research by I.T. Strategies.

“The research features interviews with some of the top European publishers and looks at the ongoing viability of printed books, what value they offer and how they fit into the changes we’re seeing in the way people communicate in a world where regulation slows down change,” says Vaughan Patterson, sales manager for the production printing business group at Ricoh SA.

Key findings include:

  • In North America book printing is becoming an offset-to-digital print substitution;
  • The European book publishing ecosystem is not yet feeling the same level of pressure to switch to digital production – the pressures are there, but faster inventory turns will have to become more popular and price regulations will have to weaken before digital production printing of books becomes a requirement for survival; and
  • There is a window of opportunity – European book printers who prepare to change their infrastructure to a more automated, digital production infrastructure will do well when the inevitable change to a more cost-efficient book production requirement occurs.

Ricoh to discuss the evolution of the book industry and impacts of technology-led disruption at London Book FairGraham Moore, director, business development at Ricoh in Europe, says: “Fully adapting to the digital age is a huge challenge for any business, particularly publishers and book printers. They are not alone, as new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Ricoh, reveals that 71% of European business executives say that their industry was exposed to moderate to extreme technology-led disruption over the past three years. Publishers and book printers also have their own unique set of challenges in responding to the disruption caused by changing reading habits, eBooks and digital publishing models.“

“South African book publishers are quickly coming around to the fact that the digital age is catching up with them and they need to fully investigate the business opportunity it presents them,” says Patterson. “We have often been accused of lagging markets in other developed parts of the world yet South African organisations are taking this shift seriously now.”

During the three-day event, Ricoh will present its suite of innovative publishing solutions – including its print on demand offering to reduce warehousing costs and local production solution to lower distribution expenditure – designed to directly address the needs of today’s publisher. The range combines flexibility with scale to ensure that publishers can produce content that is accessible across a range of channels and devices. Ricoh experts will also advise on how publishers can adapt their models for the future. 

Moore adds: “The I.T. Strategies research highlights some interesting challenges and opportunities for the European book industry. The research confirms our own experience, which shows that now could well be the time for European book printers to plan for a digital future, and take advantage of future technology-driven change. We are looking forward to contributing to the discussions at the London Book Fair and understanding where we can further partner with publishers as they continue to evolve their deep history of adapting to customer demands and market changes, and maintaining their longstanding appetite for innovation.” 

Vaughan Patterson, Ricoh SA

Contact details: 011 723 5000

vaughan.patterson@ricoh.co.za

 


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