It’s a profession that thrives on risk and creativity.
One hundred years ago there were two industries, photography and book printing. That’s changed: Today you have two industries—photography and book printing. I’d say that book printing is the big winner in this new business. It’s not the least bit competitive with photography. It’s far easier to sell booklets as well, so that business has really grown.
On the other hand, print-on-demand has become much more prevalent. You can do that with any business you choose, but book-paper distribution has the advantage that it’s easy to do online. It’s a whole different market from photography.
What’s the big difference?
It’s a matter of price—the biggest one is the cost. With photography the cost is going up about 50 percent to 80 percent per year. With e-book it’s going up 10.5 percent per year or more.
That’s not much compared to the growth in printing in the US. Printing is a relatively small business.
If you look at the whole supply chain—printing, design, shipping to distribution, on-line sales—printing has more than doubled over the last 20 years.
Then the other one you have e-book: It’s a small market. The industry’s got only 12 million books today, and it’s growing.
But print is really in its peak.
You can still get it from the library, but e-book is so different. It’s a lot easier to get and distribute. The other thing is that publishers are getting more aggressive, and that’s why they’re getting more profits.
With e-book you can control your publishing. As opposed to the last two decades, it’s a very open way to do business.
What’s different about print versus e-book?
First is that you have to be a very smart businessman to compete at the retail level.
If you know how to get a newspaper off the stands you might actually make a profit, and also you will be profitable as a business. The next thing is the cost.
First, you have to keep buying paper and ink, because it costs less to do that than to print books. On the margins you’re really out of it.
For example, if you sell 200 copies of the paperback version of a book in a store it costs $75 to make. If
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