Print on demand is the supply chain solution for paper and books

Vox Media recently reported on the “book shortage” issue on a collision course with the Christmas season. It cited four factors that together look likely to create a perfect storm: 

  1. More people are reading books 
  2. Books are getting more complicated and expensive to physically produce 
  3. It’s becoming harder to distribute them 
  4. There’s an increasing labour shortage 

Factors that are widely accepted, valid, and broadly true. However, if you’re a creator or publisher of personalised books concerned about any impact this might have on your customers and on sales, you can relax! Here’s why… 


Readers, readers everywhere 

That more people are reading has to be a good thing, right? A great thing, even. Because, apparently, the practice of reading books creates cognitive engagement that improves lots of things, including vocabulary, thinking skills, and concentration. It can also affect empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence. There’s even research that points to people who read more living longer. So far, so positive. 


Book production, the choices 

It’s true to say that, if you’re relying on the traditional printing (offset) and publishing (to sell, rather than to order) model, indeed expect it to be complex and costly. And, for those authors that need to print a book in huge numbers, their choices may be limited to this. But digital printing technology is tailormade for one-off or short-run books such as personalised book gifts, sampling, inventory top-ups, reviving out-of-print titles, etc. It has no need for costly and time-consuming printing plates, or lengthy set-up processes and, within an automated workflow, can be lightning fast!   


Not just distribution but storage too 

The lack of lorry drivers across the UK was further compounded recently by what many came to see as the country’s “self-inflicted” fuel shortage, all conspiring to making the movement of goods from A to B increasingly tricky. And there’s a similar story when it comes to storage. UK warehouse space is under strain and operators have reported that the industry is “creaking at the seams”.  

Luckily, with POD, none of these distribution issues is a consideration. If you’re working with a production house that is manufacturing to-order and has agreements in place with national and global networks and shipping partners, that’ll ensure that you never fall at the final hurdle.  


People, what people? 

There’s no denying that loyal, highly skilled, and reliable people are hard to find and retain. You’ll want to check that any print-on-demand partner you select has a team in place that is up-to-the-job. That said, automation is a critical piece of the POD puzzle, and 24/7 lights-out production removes many of the manual, repetitive tasks and human touchpoints within the process.  


Prime is the largest Print on Demand provider in the UK and, after 30 years in this sector, there’s not much that we don’t know. If you’re looking for a POD partner with the resources, skills and stocks to ensure your personalised books and products are always available to market simply, quickly, and profitably, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help. 


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