Having spent the better part of my career in the book business, I have watched the gradual erosion of talent and quality in the manufacturing process. This is a trend that needs to be reversed. It’s sad to say, but the conventional wisdom in the US is that exceptional book quality is not something that publishers are willing to extra for.
Hogwash – just walk through any bookstore and look at the beautiful four-color museum-quality or coffee table books that sell for a lot of money. Then open up that book and see where it was produced – very likely in China, Singapore, or some other off-shore country. How can they do this and we in the US cannot?
It all comes down to having the right long term investment strategy and keeping a skilled, motivated workforce. Many of these titles gradually slipped away in the last decade or two because we at home did not invest in new technology, equipment, or people. We milked the animal for what it could produce, and only have ourselves to blame.
Just look at the surge in digital printing globally – the US leads the world in investments here. We have not, sadly, done the same with our traditional manufacturing platforms. Too many companies make the excuse that the current economic climate is too risky for long term investments – I say that this is the right time to make these investments.
What do you say?