The book production market differs significantly from the general printing market in being more stable with relatively few producers and high barriers to entry. The general printing market is more exposed to competition, for example from producers in low-cost countries.
The book production market can be divided into colour printing and black-and-white printing. Black-and-white printing is mainly used for fiction, while colour printing is more often used for technical literature, educational materials or “coffee table books”. In Sweden, black-and-white printing accounts for about 60 percent of all hardbacks, nearly 100 percent of all paperbacks and approximately 50 percent of other softbacks.
In contrast to the coloured segment, most black-and-white books are initially printed in small runs when the publishers want to limit tied-up capital. It is therefore a competitive advantage to be geographically well positioned, like ScandBook, with short delivery times to most of the Nordic customer base.
In general, black-and-white production takes place closer to the publishers and the consumers compared with coloured production, which has longer lead times and larger editions. Since the editions are larger, freight costs account for a smaller portion of the total production cost.