Ebook’s growing marketshare in trade fiction has lead to smaller print runs for print books. Smaller print runs equals increased unit costs. When you add in the cost of warehousing, distribution and the working capital tied up in inventory POD has becomes the optimal choice for more midlist titles.
A recent article by Steve Waldron; VP of Business Development for Klopotek, on print on demand concluded that;
We have seen publishing houses embracing all the models described above. Some publishers have embarked on a pure POD model and are divesting themselves of the traditional warehouse operations. Some are considering the viability of reducing the variety of print formats that are produced in order to reduce costs, reduce risk, increase quality and speed to market. Some are also considering the potential of operating their own digital printing equipment, after all, If print operations can garner 30% to 40% profit margins utilizing digital print machines then ownership of digital print equipment and printing your own product may present significant cost savings for the future.
The PTO (print to order) model, in particular, reduces investment risk, it takes away the guess work and complex forecasting of print run and reprint planning and ultimately means that you only pay for the inventory that you actually sell, this also takes away the risk of losing a sale due to unavailability of the product, today’s consumers often choose a similar product if the one they initially select is not available. The value of not losing those sales should not be underestimated.
System developers have responded to this change with functionality that automates the POD process.
IBS Bookmaster; for medium to very large publishers, supports a wide variety of automated POD processes for order fulfillment and inventory management. These include;
Order to Order. Each individual customer purchase generates its own related purchase order for the POD printing supplier, with customer shipment details for use during customer shipment performed by the printer. IBS Bookmaster can automatically direct the POD order to a specific POD printer based on the customer’s geographical or business oriented variables. A larger POD order might be sent to Printer 1 whereas a single copy order might be sent to Printer 2. For express delivery, a POD order might be sent to a POD printer closer to the customer.
Warehouse Replenishment Printing Supplier Redirect. This method utilizes the Purchase Planning (PSI) sections of Bookmaster to generate fulfillment orders to individual printers based upon the current status of the item. Hence as an item moves from large quantities to small quantities required, the system will utilize a POD supplier in lieu of a large print run supplier.
Article: IBS Bookmaster Print on Demand
Acumen Book; for small to medium publishers, is scheduled to release an update for their print on demand module by June 2013. This update will support electronic communications with both Lightning Source (LSI) and Ingram Publishing Services (IPS). It provides automated Print on Demand (POD) processes for publishers with the following fulfillment configurations:
- Any fulfillment service and LSI. POD and inventory items are recorded on a single invoice. Order Export and shipment confirmation imports are conducted separately and directly with LSI and the fulfillment service. Fulfillment service can provide order level or line level shipping confirmation.
- IPS and LSI. When Ingram (IPS) is the fulfillment service, POD orders can be placed through IPS. POD and inventory items are recorded on a single invoice. LSI orders for POD products are handled by IPS. IPS order exports and ship confirm imports include all products on the order.
- LSI as a Primary Distributor. For companies that are 100% POD, LSI can be the only fulfillment service. Fulfillment Import optional module is additionally required in this case.
- Your own warehouse and LSI.
- Your own warehouse and your own POD operation.