17 predictions for the future of print
02 Jan 2018
What will 2018 hold when it comes to the way businesses employ print to market their products? And then, there is the big blunt question: have printers unwittingly eroded print’s value? As print firms prepare their strategic plans for 2018, PrintWeek India asks publishers, designers and packaging heads, how they envision the future of print
Publisher, Yoda Book
Print remains as relevant as ever, and is evolving and growing in all kinds of different ways. I am fascinated for example at the potential of 3D printing for the content industry. For me, specifically, as a small independent publisher, print-on-demand continues to become more and more important and I hope that we will see even better quality at more reduced costs soon.
Co-founder and director, Elephant
At some point, printers overdid and have eroded the value of print. But now we need to look at a way for congruence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) with print. I believe that’s the future of print. The point is not to use all the printing technologies together, but to use the diverse technologies in collaboration with print for the betterment of lives.
Creative director, Beyondesign
We are in a technologically fluid time but there is a misconception that print cannot be a part of the new age of scientific innovation. Although a lot is moving to digital, the print market is far from dissolution. The number of surfaces one can print on, ranging from plastic to metal to glass, is expanding. Three-dimensional printing is coming up. The print market is changing, as in the publication design market is may be slow but packaging and product design demand is on the rise. Innovative print methods, especially when coupled with packaging and product design, may not merely be used for imprinting information but rather to create tactile experiences for the end consumer. I envision print techniques of the next year to be used for creating these experiences – in more tangible and innovative ways. The possibilities in print are endless and constantly evolving, provided our printers take advantage of them at the opportune moment. Change is the only consistent factor of any industry – the key is to stay with the times and constantly experiment and redefine.
Publisher, Mapin Publishing
Print has made a comeback as per recent figures made available by the Bookseller and Publishers Weekly. Sales of Kindle titles have dropped and the decline of print titles has reversed. Illustrated books have been lagging in digital book format and rightfully so. The beauty of high quality illustrations, the feel of the paper, the sensual pleasure of holding a superbly produced book, — almost like an art object — cannot be replicated by any digital medium. To merge technology and print medium, Mapin has just introduced Augmented Reality to its high quality illustrated books. You can download a free app BooksPlus and experience the magic of enhanced content from these books. We hope this technology will retain print customers to continue to read with the pleasure of digital technology at their finger tips!
There is a likelihood that print, as a medium, becomes more exclusive and aspirational, which has a potential to improve the margins in the business, though it will have a negative impact on the volumes. It is high time print learned to coexist with digital as a medium and work towards creating newer niches.
Hemant B Randive
Vice president - production services, FCB India
The costs are going through the roof and running an establishment is becoming more and more difficult. In this scenario paying back to the financier is a prime moto for the print firms. Hence they need continuous volumes. As a result, printers are falling in the trap of reverse auction. They have started believing that ‘number of impressions’ is the only name of the game. Having said that, there’s a niche print segment, where printers still trust that bottomline can be achieved even with lesser number of impressions. These are the print firms who are playing for a long haul.
Jaya Bhattacharji Rose
International publishing consultant
I can only respond from the perspective of a publishing consultant. I believe that printers need to engage more and more with the publishing community across the lines rather than only with the production department, introducing them to various techniques available on how to improve the quality of books, within the best costing available. Do more road shows if necessary. Perhaps even a repeat show of the PrintWeek India book conference that was held in Trivandrum. We need more such interactions in the industry, more so within the new taxation regime.
Founder, Writer’s Side Literary Agency
For many years now, publishing industry pundits have been sounding the death knell of the printed book. Yet, year after year the printed book has continued to withstand the digital onslaught, and remains the most favoured format for readers. In 2016, printed books in India grew by 15% and the contribution of digital books to total sales amounted to a miniscule 5-10%. In spite of this, new entrants to publishing like Juggernaut and more recently the Pune-based mobile-only publisher Readify are pushing boundaries and experimenting with content and format. I don’t see any immediate threat to print now or in the very distant future. What worries me most is the rising cost of printing a book which has started impacting decision making in publishing houses with regards to advances and the financial viability of design heavy books.
Publisher, Konark Publishers
As regards to printers, I would say most (big ones) have evolved with the changing demands of publishing. They have kept pace with the changing technology and are willing to collaborate with publishers. Most of them follow the compliances that are required. It is the small printers who are not able to cope with the rapid changes and are happy working with the small local publishers. The future of print will now depend on how they readjust need-based approach and join the advertising and packaging industry apart from publishing industry. Print-on-demand is a good beginning in this direction.
Printers haven’t really unwittingly eroded print’s value. On the contrary, I see printers embracing the new technology at a greater speed than before to improve quality, productivity and customer’s expectations. The use of technology is not limited to pre-press or production but has extended to finishing, customer support and to enable automation. I see a larger role for print-on-demand in the coming years, not only for short-runs but also for reducing distribution time and cost by printing at multiple locations. I do believe that printed books will have more interactive elements like augmented reality.
For me, it is very important to be associated with a print partner who has invested in all kinds of equipment and is not only able to understand my requirement but also provide additional inputs to achieve the greater outcome. The prime example would be working with German leaders during the Jio launch and being able to achieve the results on all the jobs. The trend in printing is changing on two fronts – the technology as well the pricing. The traditional printing is on a downward slope because of its limitations with instant print, economical pricing and utility of substrates. Here it seems to be overhauled by packaging which is riding on a path of fast growth.
Director, German Book Office (New Delhi)
Print is growing! Our culture is evolving in its design sensibility and the book covers and layouts. Today book jackets are reflecting the way book design is coming to the forefront. It’s also fuelled by the fact that worldwide trust in print is back as it’s the only market showing constant growth in all genres while eBooks are stagnating. At the same time, children books are growing through multiple innovations like waterproof, edible and eco-friendly books. Looking at book innovations by Tara Books, Duckbill Books, Seagull Books, in terms of paper, format, covers and design! I am positive about books firming their ground even further in the homes and shelves of the readers. Indian printers are delivering best quality at optimal prices and can take over other competitors if they promote themselves more aggressively at global events like Frankfurt Book Fair.
Rajnish G Shirsat
CEO, Strategic Marketing Services
Printers per se have not eroded the print’s value but they have allowed the clients to do so. They have allowed clients to treat them as vendors with price in the forefront. Anyone with basic knowledge becomes a ‘designer’ and so does anyone with a small investment in machinery with 80% outsourced work becomes a ‘printer’. This is the problem. You cannot become a successful printing company by only putting ink on paper with no expertise in overall operations, efficiency, eye for detail in finishing and binding in particular. Printing companies in the coming year will face challenges with acquisition of clients and administrative aspects in the wake of the changes incorporated in Indian policies recently. Paper will have to be procured smartly with great amount of planning and scheduling.
Associate manager - packaging quality, Marico
In today’s outlook the commercial print runs have a shorter shelf life but these are expected to be impactful. A consistent quality performance of the print offers the buyer and the printer to create a non-eroding value and attract market trends. Such attitude ensures brand loyalty as it assures consumer quality. In the coming year, the printers shall create leading examples to conceptualise print designs with technological advancement, eco-friendly systems, anti-counterfeit print designs and involvement of digital apps in the commercial prints. And more importantly, shift towards sustainability.
Graphic designer, Bizongo
The print partners in India have a potential to match the international standards. One print job that underscores this is a set of mini cards for Taj Resorts, made to look like a collection of all the experiences they offer. The slip case has a lovely leather texture and finish while the cards inside (although very light) look very heavy and rich because of the silver gilding done on all the edges. What I love about it is that it is precise and compact, tells a story as you go through it, step by step and has the perfect blend of quality and content, put together in a concise format in terms of packaging. It has three main characteristics that define print for me and that print firms should focus on while producing any and every print job. The first one being what it says (in terms of quality), the second one being how it feels (in terms of the techniques applied) and the last one being how consistent it is (in terms of standardisation).
Sukhdev Singh Saini
Packaging lead, General Mills AMEA
2018 will be an interesting time for innovations. eCommerce and artificial intelligence would be at the centre of everything. It would be interesting to see how printing evolves to match industry and consumer expectations.
CEO, Sage Publishers
I don’t believe printers have unwittingly done anything. However, there were questionable practices with some unscrupulous printers. There are two clear things that will help grow print. The first is clamping down on piracy. Printers can play a more proactive role in ensuring that pirated copies don’t get printed. While in the short-term, the printer profits from the ‘sale’ even in the medium term, it hurts the industry. If content producers don’t get compensated, content will not get generated. The consequence is plain to see. The second is use the GST as a tool to arrive at a fair price (not the cheapest price) for quality produced. It has been an uphill task to get printers to treat the issue in a fair and transparent manner.
India overtakes UK to reach number four in advertising spends
According to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecast, the Indian advertising industry will close at Rs 53,918-crore in 2017. A report in December last year had predicted advertising spends in the country to be Rs 54,344-crore at the end of this year. The drop in the growth has been attributed to demonetisation, that was implemented in India in November 2016. The report expects adex for India to reach Rs 58,422-crore by the end of 2018, registering a growth of 8.4%.
Growth rate for television is pegged at 9% while newspapers will grow at 5%. Radio will grow at 10%, while cinema and out of home (OOH) will grow at 5% respectively. According to Zenith, India has gained a position to reach number four in the ‘top ten contributors to advertising spend 2017-2020’. It has overtaken the UK and stands behind USA, China and Indonesia. Between 2017 and 2020, global advertising expenditure is expected to increase by USD 72 bn in total. The US will contribute 27% of this extra advertising expenditure and China will contribute 20%, followed by Indonesia, India, the UK and Japan, which will contribute 4% each.