12 May 08 | Chad W. Post

Ironically, I just got today’s PW Daily and the lead story is about the fourth annual Book Industry Study Group’s “Making Information Pay” conference that took place last Friday, at which Michael Shatzkin (author of the article I just wrote about) and Michael Healy, executive director of BISG, talked about the results of a BISG survey on the “state of experimentation and innovation” in the publishing industry.

Not a lot of details online about the actual survey, except what’s in Jim Milliot’s write-up:

Approximately two-thirds of trade publishing respondents said they believe experimentation is crucial to the future success of the industry, while more than 75% of educational and professional publishers believed innovation is critical to the future. Just over 81% of trade publishers said experiments have led to changes in their normal work practices, while 87% of nontrade publishers reported changes.

The most common experiments involve the Web, either through new marketing techniques or redesigns of corporate sites. Nearly 69% of trade publishers said experiments had resulted in new products, while 77% of nontrade publishers said they had created new products. The source of innovation comes from a number of places, ranging from top management to “literally anybody” at the company, the survey found.

The most interesting bit is about the Espresso Book Machine though:

Todd Anderson, director of the University of Alberta Bookstore, gave his unqualified support to the Espresso Book Machine, which the bookstore installed last November 1. The $144,000 machine allows the bookstore to print individual books from a variety of different files. “Our model is sell one, print one,” Anderson said. Through the early part of February, UAB had printed 2,364 books, totaling 537,754 pages, Anderson said. Since that time, the bookstore has printed another 1,500 books with the Espresso.

So they’ve printed almost 4,000 units, which, assuming an average list price of $15, comes out to $60,000 over the first 6 months . . . Looks like it could pay for itself in about a year . . . And I think we can assume these sales will increase with the new Lightening Source list of available titles.

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