I’m Jim Kaeli, and I’m responsible for Muller Martini’s Book and Publication Binding Division here in the US. I’ve been in the business for thirty years, and have worked both on the manufacturing as well as the supplier side of the industry.
My main goal in creating this Blog is to engage your dialogue with regard to emerging trends and issues that directly affect our businesses. Our industry is undergoing the fastest rate of change and technology shifts it has ever seen since the book first appeared. Some observers have predicted the demise of the book as the key vehicle to store and impart knowledge. I am convinced that these new technologies will not only support the book, they will actually coexist quite well and in some cases, create new demand.
One important example: photo books. Twenty years ago the scrapbooking industry was thriving, and with it, a whole sub-industry that grew to support it. The major shift from film to digital cameras, coupled with the ability to easily archive and retrieve digital content, enabled the incredibly rapid growth of digital photo books.
Just look at some stats: 80% of people in the US now own a digital camera or smart phone capable of taking pictures. By the end of 2010, nearly 10% of US households made a photo book. I had the chance to do this last year when my son and I took our annual father/son hiking trip. The photo book was not only a great keepsake, it was also a lot of fun to produce. This is something I never thought about doing just a few years ago.
This underscores how new technologies can drive traditional demand. At Muller, we are actively engaged with the photo book industry and see opportunities to support this rapidly growing market. Five years ago this opportunity was not on our radar screen.
At last year’s Graph Expo, we held a seminar titled “Photo Books – What You Need to Know.” It was very well-attended, and we have received so much positive feedback that we are planning a webinar to rebroadcast portions of the seminar, as well as have a live Q&A. Many of the original panelists will be on-line as well. Check WhatTheyThink.com or Book Business Magazine for information on the date and time.
I’ll be regularly updating this Blog with new information and emerging trends. Check back often and add your own comments so we can meet these challenges head-on together!