One of the sessions during the professional event Readmagine 22 -organised by FGSR and IPDA- was focused on strategies for a positive impact on SDG (of 2030 UN Agenda) from the public libraries and the publishing industry. This part of the conference was moderated by Alicia Sellés (President of FESABID) and had the presentations by Anna-Maria Soininvaara (Oodi Library, Finland) and Arantxa Mellado (LiberExpres, Spain).
Mellado is working in several innovation projects for the improvement of workflows and data in the Spanish publishing industry and invited the audience to focus on the SDG 12 -Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Sustainable consumption and production- and its implications for the day by day work in this industry.
From her point of view there are three challenges that should be tackle by the industry to meet the requirements of SDG 12:
- Non 100% sustainable products
If each of this problems need some fundamental changes to be made, in the case of overproduction, we should keep in mind that the publishing industry produces an average of 25% more than what the market demands. Why is happening this apparently absurd and inefficient situation? Mellado answered: “Because the Offset cheaper printing cost and the publisher’s need to compensate returns”.
The second challenge is overdistribution, which is huge in the Spanish value chain, meaning big and sometimes massive returns flow. The cause for this is precisely the overproduction, as the industry need to bring in new titles.
The use of non 100% sustainable products (not 100% recyclable) means that millions of books are pulped every year, but only the interior pages, because the cover usually cannot be recycled.
Arantxa Mellado proposes one solution for each of those challenges, measures that mean fundamental changes that the Publishing industry has to make in the way produces and distributes print books.
In first place, Mellado explained that digital printing is the foundation for a new strategy, more sustainable, based on Print on Demand and 1-to-1 distribution are the solution for the overproduction. In this video you can follow her ideas from the perspective of the book life cycle there could be three different situations in a “Publishing pull model”:
- Offset for large print runs
- Digital POD for short print runs
- Digital PTO (1-to-1 distribution) for the long tail
According with this approach Print on Demand and 1-to-1 distribution are the solution for the overproduction, with a very clear bet for local printing to reduce the logistic needs and the carbon footprint.
The consequence of the broad adoption of this idea would be a drastic decrease in returns. This scheme should be linked to the improving the sustainability of digital printing through the adoption of the “dropshipping” strategy and extending delivery times.
This idea of longer term deliveries may seem counterintuitive in this era of customer experience as a “mantra”, but Mellado explained that there is information about the commitment of buyers with the local commerce and the sustainable models:
- 86% of consumers are willing to delay ecommerce deliveries.
- 64% of consumers are willing to spend more on sustainable packaging.
- 40% of consumers agree that there should be a minimum amount that a consumer must spend to qualify for free shipping.
Arantxa Mellado has more than 20 years of experience in the book world, first as a publisher and then as a publishing consultant. As such, she has advised publishers on issues related to the multi-format book commercial chain, metadata management and POD production. She is currently director of LiberExpress, a digital platform for the distribution of print-on-demand (PTO) books, which she co-founded. She also founded DataLibri, a company specialising in metadata marketing training and consultancy.
Arantxa Mellado has a degree in Law and a Master’s degree in History of Medieval Law (UB). She is also the author of the blog Actualidad Editorial, lecturer in the Master’s Degree in Publishing at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and author of numerous studies and reports on the book industry.