Additional Evidence for a Distributed Book Printing Network
Book printers are recognizing the value in a distributed book printing network throughout the world. Edwards Brothers and Rowman & Littlefield (parent company of National Book Network) announced a strategic relationship that leverages the two firms already existing digital book printing network. In June 2005, Edwards Brothers UK, Ltd. expects to be printing and shipping books on demand for National Book Network International (NBNi) client publishers in the UK and Europe. A print-on-demand facility is being established inside the National Book Network International operation in Plymouth, England. This solution integrates print-on-demand seamlessly with NBNi’s order processing system so digitally printed titles are perpetually available.
James E. (Jed) Lyons, President of Rowman & Littlefield PG says, “Edwards Brothers is an expert at print-on-demand.” Steve Smith, Manager of Digital Operations and Pre-Press Services for Edwards Brothers is responsible for making the facility fully operational by June. He says, “We are confident that our offer and pricing will be very attractive to UK publishers. Our rates are competitive and our staff are trained print professionals.”
The Plymouth, England print-on-demand facility is the second printing joint venture between Edwards Brothers and National Book Network. In 2000, they jointly launched a satellite print-on-demand facility at NBN’s US distribution center in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.
In addition to this announcement, one must factor in the news of Amazon’s acquisition of BookSurge and Ingram’s ownership of Lightning Source. These are key indicators of a change in the book printing and distribution market. Amazon, Ingram and National Book Network appear ready to battle in the book distribution arena. Each has its own book printing capabilities. Each is looking at both the US and international markets. What do these acquiring companies see in the international marketplace that others do not? Which companies will be next to join the battle? Which book distributor will next acquire a printer? Which book printers will aggressively seek a partnership or to acquire a distributor?
The implications of these mergers and acquisitions may not be understood for years to come, but one thing is evident. The line between book printing and distribution is disappearing both in the United States and internationally.