Variable Data Book Printing (part two)
Yesterday’s posting looked at variable data books as a product to differentiate digital book printers from traditional ones. Today’s posting will explore the selling process for variable data books.
One of the challenges to selling variable data books is to convince the publisher there is an opportunity to sell the books. Most publishers are stuck in the old paradigm of long print runs of the same book to reduce the unit cost. Few realize that a variable data book has more appeal to the book buyer and is less expensive to distribute. Think of it this way. The versioned book for Shutters Hotel or for Albertsons/Savon is worth more to them because it has their logo on it. They are proud to distribute the book for the publisher. This is where the cost savings come into play. The variable data books are not sold through the traditional book trade, so there is no need to forfeit 70% of the list price to move it through the distribution chain. Albertsons/Savon or Shutters Hotel will distribute the book. The publisher can afford to sell it to them at a lower discount, typically 40%, to have them distribute the book—which means the publisher can spend more to have the book printed without eroding the profit margin. The client gets a customized product and the publisher makes more money.
A recent example of opening a publisher’s eyes to the opportunity occurred with the book “Million Dollar Dentistry.” The author mentions a specific brand name on a piece of dental equipment in the book. The author believes this is a quality piece of equipment that is underutilized by dentists and explains how they can make more money with it. I contacted the publisher to recommend they sell customized books to the equipment manufacturer. It is a win-win-win situation for all concerned. The equipment manufacturer gets a customized copy of the book, with their logo on the cover, that they can use as a premium to any dentist buying their equipment. The publisher sells more books and gets the books into the hands of the target audience, dentists. The book printer prints more books.
Printing variable data books is one area in which digital book printers prevail over traditional book printers. Yet, it is one of the least utilized techniques with publishers. Until book printers make publishers aware of the possibilities by sharpening their selling skills to include variable data printing, this will continue to be an area of great opportunity.