Demand-based printing and reaching global readers


The growth of excellent short run and on-demand digital printing services in India has begun to solve many of these concerns that publishers face in today’s dynamic publishing environment. Let’s see how. Demand. This is perhaps the most crucial and yet unknown entity when a publisher plans a print run of a new book. Who will read it? Where are my readers? How many should I print? How long will interest for this title exist and when should I print more? Knowing the demand will help publishers use their money wisely, but demand can be extremely difficult to predict. Publishers find they print either too many units or not enough. It is rare, unfortunately, to find they have printed exactly the correct number of books.

Uncertain demand leads to financial and logistical burdens for publishers. Printing too many copies can be a large up-front investment where money could be better spent marketing. And then of course there are warehousing of unsold inventory and potential waste (scrap) costs in the future. These are all factors to consider when calculating true cost per unit. Of course, printing too few copies also impacts publishers’ wallets negatively through lost sales opportunities.

The growth of excellent short run and on-demand digital printer services in India has begun to help solve many of these concerns that publishers face in today’s dynamic publishing environment. Repro, Sansrack, Thomson and others have recognised the benefits they can bring to businesses if economies are scaled smaller and more efficient. What’s more, they have identified that gains to be obtained when a title is never listed ‘out of stock’, nor ‘out of print’; when books are no longer allowed to ‘die.’

“Through Ingram Content Group, our Lightning Source Inc. (“Ingram”), printon- demand (POD) distribution service, is pioneering ways to help publishers better manage the uncertainty around demand. Since our first digital print run in 1998, we have worked with over 30,000 publishers around the world to ensure efficiencies in their distribution models. With the latest technology, we deliver books printed on a single-copy basis directly to consumers through our vast global distribution network. The results? Maximised sales opportunities, faster delivery times, more efficient use of capital, reduced warehouse costs, and lower waste. By flipping the model from: Print book > Sell book to: Sell book> Print book, this allows publishers, for the first time, to match their supply of titles exactly to the reading demand,” tells Philippa Malicka, sales consultant (New Delhi, India), INGRAM.

Along with working closely with our publishers, Ingram continues to grow the selling channels for content. One of Ingram’s advantages is its wholesale business, which supplies books to thousands of book-sellers and libraries. Ingram also has direct relationships with online sellers and major wholesalers, ensuring that titles are shown as ‘available’ across every supply platform across the world.

Ingram’s distribution reach is global, now spanning over 39,000 retailers, libraries and online retail outlets – an exciting opportunity for India-based publishers who are eager to make their titles available in foreign markets.

Extended distribution beyond India’s borders was another victim of the aforementioned supply and demand problem. Considering where and how to ship books overseas felt like another headache, another variable on your costs, more warehousing fees, unreliable off-shore distributors and unfamiliar pricing concerns.

Yet, many publishers are receiving interest and orders for their titles, and experiencing the frustration of not being able to meet that demand. This limits the readership of your titles to a single market, which is a disadvantage in a global reading and publishing environment. It means that new literary fiction cannot fall into the hands of hungry readers in Australia, America or the UK. Or that librarians who order for South Asian faculties, have difficulty locating the excellent social science writing which small publishers here are producing. This extends into the Indian languages, too: as NRIs are unable to order titles in their native tongues.

Ingram’s POD and wholesaling capabilities are a powerful yet simple way for Indian publishers to circumvent these issues and sell their content globally. We simply store a PDF of your book on our servers, supply the metadata and your pricing to our channels and fulfill every order that we receive on your behalf. This creates new revenue streams with appealing foreign price points.

It’s time to look outwards with your titles, to recognize and meet foreign reading demand and to grow your revenue without burdensome logistical costs. Swift and global distribution matched exactly to demand is the future of your publishing business.

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