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March 21, 2018

Industry and Friesens Print Sales Growth for 2017

Industry and Friesens Print Sales Growth for 2017

Unit sales of print books increased in 2017, as indicated by final year end reports. This marks the fourth year of growth for print books. Reports indicate printed book units were up 1.9 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016. That means printed book sales are up 10.8 percent since 2013. These year over year positive results have helped fuel our confidence in the book business, and our plans at Friesens are for continued growth.

The indicators we follow continue to give us optimism for the coming years and confidence to make continued large investments in new equipment and added facilities. Our recent capital expenditures include new equipment such as an MGI UV machine, 5 colour Heidelberg press, 8 colour Manroland press wih LED, Mueller-Martini hardcover encasing line, as well as software and computers to automate our production processes.

Following are the year-end industry results for print book sales in the United States:

Unit Sales of Print Books, 2014–2017 (in thousands)

Source: NPD BookScan

Our partnerships with new and existing customers have helped us outpace the industry growth. Following are Friesens’ results from 2017 compared to 2016:

  • Total print impressions on sheetfed presses – up 11%
  • Total print impressions on web presses – up 5%
  • Total print impressions on digital presses – up 19%
  • Total signatures sewn – up 22%
  • Total softcover books bound on our short run binding line – up 24%
  • Total softcover books on our traditional binding line – down 1%
  • Total hardcover books – up 8%
  • Number of titles produced – up 6%

Based on some lead measures of quotes done and jobs already booked, we see 2018 being another positive year of growth for the book market. As I write this, we also read about positive January sales numbers in the retail markets, which only adds to our optimism.