New groundbreaking Ricoh study on book publishing reveals that “Print is ‘NOT’ Dead”

Ricoh Americas Corporation has announced the findings of its commissioned IT Strategies Books Study, performed in conjunction with the University of Colorado.  The whitepaper surveyed more than 800 respondents and debunks the cliché “Print is Dead.” Among the key findings of the study, and most surprising, is that eBooks’ mindshare is overshadowed by popular press headlines rather than factual data – and that most consumers do not see themselves giving up printed books due to the benefits the physical form offers. Furthermore, said the study, 60% of eBooks downloaded in the U.S. are never read!

ricohbookstudy-inOther results of the study (titled The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers) destined to turn a lot of heads in Canada as well, include the following:

• Nearly 70% of consumers feel it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016. Consumers have an emotional and visceral/sensory attachment to printed books, potentially elevating them to a luxury item.

• Despite their perceived popularity, 60% of eBooks downloaded are never read in the US. Since 2012, the growth of eBooks has slowed significantly as dedicated eReader sales are declining, and tablet PC devices are increasingly bring used for other forms of entertainment.

• College students prefer printed textbooks to eBooks as they help thrm to concentrate on the subject matter at hand. Electronic display devices such as tablet PCs tempt students to distraction.

• Current trends reveal that while fewer copies of books are being sold, more titles are being published.

• Digital printing of “ultra short runs” have empowered book printers to supply books more tightly tied to actual demand.

• The top three reasons consumers choose a printed book are: Lack of eye strain when reading from a paper copy versus an eBook; the look and feel of paper, and the ability to add it to a library or bookshelf.

Other findings from the study specifically relevant to publishers and book manufacturers include:

• Publishers are using digital printing in two ways. First, as a test with one to two books placed per retailer, circumventing cumbersome distributor guidelines and storage fees before ordering larger offset or digitally printed quantities; and second, for predicted strong titles, digitally printed books are used for re-orders as needed to supplement first-run offset printed books.

• Digital production inkjet printers have opened the door to a business model shift. Combined, the study estimates that just 50 production inkjet systems owned by 25 book manufacturers produced more than 10% of all printed book pages in the U.S. in 2012.

• Offering titles electronically does not correspond to revenue generation or cost savings. In fact, even the largest publishers derive revenues of no more than 20%-30% from eBook sales.

“Despite the perceived growth of eBooks, our research shows that there is a silver lining for the printed books and the digital production print industries,” said Marco Boer, Consulting Partner, IT Strategies (pictured previously). “As book orders become smaller in quantity and more frequent, and as an unprecedented number of titles are introduced each year, digital print is helping book manufacturers tackle potential challenges head on through automation and more intelligent printing.”

To download the IT Strategies whitepaper, “The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers”, and obtain more information on Ricoh’s solutions for publishing, please visit