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  • Well, if they mostly sell on line, and via Lulu, there's no real need for them to own their own presses, not that I said that they do own any, I said it's one way of not paying a middleman. Murdoch's newspaper empire do also publish books, though. HarperCollins.

    I don't know about that ten you mention, there seems to be a Big 5 (the above being one of them) and as I said, most of the big parent companies own many many Imprints, many of that 6,000 which could be under the wing of the big guys.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HarperCollins#Imprints here's another with many Imprints    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachette_Book_Group#Current_publishing_groups_and_imprints

    Anyhow, even some massive newspaper printing machines are now POD. Now there's little need for printing plates, they can change what is being printed as the machines continue to print. The outlay for such machines is massive, though.

    POD only really means a printing machine that can have files fed to it, rather than have to stop for plates to be changed. (BOD is a bit different. They have to include binding machines.) And most modern printing machines are of that kind now. What is being printed is irrelevant. Not far from me is an art gallery that sells prints. They replaced their frame-printing section with a wide format deskjet printing machine.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2018
    Traditional printing, especially offset printing, which is largely the standard, is infinitely cheaper per unit when printing more than a hundred or so copies of a book. This is even more dramatically true if any color whatsoever is involved. There is a very long list of other advantages over digital printing.

    Regarding newspapers, some of the very largest papers are using webfed inkjet presses, but newspaper and book publishing are two very, very different things. 
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just to be clear: I do not own any presses.

    It would be nice to have a hydraulic press, but I don't even own an arbor press. I wouldn't have mentioned arbor presses, but you guys already broached the subject.
  • I know someone with a duck press.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Traditional printing, especially offset printing, which is largely the standard, is infinitely cheaper per unit when printing more than a hundred or so copies of a book. This is even more dramatically true if any color whatsoever is involved. There is a very long list of other advantages over digital printing.

    Advantages overcome by the rapid onset of technology. Which new tech is always initially expensive to buy. I recall the head of Personnel at British Leyland (who were always on strike) telling me how he showed the union Shop Stewards a film of a Japanese car factory (no humans in sight!) and told them that film is ten years old. "Imagine what we are competing with now." Within twenty years the UK car industry was almost deceased. The same happened in the USA did it not? The advance of technology is unbelievable, and often takes companies by surprise. Currently just the speed of POD machines is the problem. 

    Regarding newspapers, some of the very largest papers are using webfed inkjet presses,

    Is that not what I said? But at one time they all did not use any digital method at all, until a local newspaper publisher built a new fully digital newspaper print factory (not far from my house, in fact) causing most of Fleetstreet's workers to come out on strike, when the publishers there said they would eventually introduce the same machines. As I said, Rupert Murdoch has invested (very very heavily!) in a fully POD newspaper printing press in London, it still prints so fast the paper is just a blur, and does not have to stop to change what it is printing. How soon will the rest have to follow? 

     but newspaper and book publishing are two very, very different things.

    The all still have to use printing machines, if they own them or not. 

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2018
    They do both use printing machines. The difference lies in the end products. Because of this, most commercial book publishers that I am aware of continue to use traditional offset printing. For instance, of the several books I have had come out over the past couple of years---from Smithsonian Books; Farrar, Strauss & Giroux; Zenith; Watkins and Atlantic Books (the last two are UK publishers)---all have been printed by offset. 

    In any case, the issue is not what technologies are going to be available in the future but how present technologies affect self-publishing now.
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    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I have many examples of recently published books by mainstream publishing houses that are obviously laser of bubblejet printed.

    The future comes faster than you think, especially nowadays. As does what is in a lot of SF  :)

  • Well, what may be "obvious" to you may not be the actual case.

    In any event, it is true that some publishers are turning to digital printing, at least for some editions and for special reasons.

    Among the advantages of employing digital printing are:

    --large runs can be printed with offset, filling shortfalls with digital printing;
    --using digital for initial production while waiting for offset lead-time;
    --using digital to fill the gap and provide test marketing while gauging demand, which will determine the majority production type;
    --and supplying back lists and older titles through digital as demand diminishes.

    As an example of the second point, proof copies of my 2017 book, The Zoomable Universe, were digital while the book itself was printed by offset.

    And as one Canadian publisher said, “Digital is ideal for book events and conferences to gain traction for a title before switching to offset."

    Digital also isn't a good fit for every title. For books requiring full-color photos of extreme detail, with folded and differently sized inserts, unusual paper sizes and paper stock and quantities of a thousand or more, offset is still the best option. As another publisher said, “The best fit for digital—a book cost-effective to produce—is one with standard characteristics allowing for automated and standardized manufacturing." "Standard characteristics" would include novels and text-only books---mass market and trade paperbacks, for instance.

    With both methods of printing, prices are affected by paper size, paper type, binding, and many other factors. With offset though, the cost-per-unit drops as the print run increases and set-up costs can be amortized across the larger quantity. One university press routinely routes all short-run titles—even those with four-color covers—to digital presses. The operative word, of course, being "short-run." All publishers will weigh needs against cost in both offset and digital, but when demand isn’t sufficient to absorb the set-up costs of offset, digital may become the best option.

    And some publishers will offer books in both digital and offset forms. One publisher explains, "If my customer has 1,000 titles, and 700 are big enough for offset, but they cannot move as many units of the other 300 in six months, we’ll run those 300 digitally in smaller runs of hundreds."
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Oh well, all that matters to us is POD hopefully becoming faster and cheaper, and cheaper machines, and thus more economic. One problem is, though, that the production savings are not always passed on.
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