Day Drankin’ Press’ Report from Book Manufacturing Mastered
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Posted by: Christopher Locke
|This formal portrait of Day Drankin’ Press’ President and Co-Founder Ryan Jett is intended to match the high-brow tone of their books.
Before the coronavirus crisis forced companies to cancel their in-person events, IBPA was happy to partner with Book Manufacturers’ Institute on their new event, Book Manufacturing Mastered, which was held on February 10-11 in New York City. This event was a great representation of IBPA’s mission to educate independent publishers and provide tools for success, so we were also pleased that IBPA members were provided with a 10% discount on attendance!
Book Manufacturing Mastered was designed to cover key topic areas, such as pre-press, workflow, finishing, offset and digital processes, paper, distribution, and logistics, and the conference was geared toward those new to book printing as well as experienced professionals looking to learn the latest developments and trends in book manufacturing.
IBPA thought it would be helpful to hear from an IBPA member who attended the event, so we asked Day Drankin’ Press’ co-founder Ryan Jett to share insight from his experience.
IBPA: As an independent publisher, why did you want to attend Book Manufacturing Mastered?
Ryan Jett (RJ): Most of our revenue comes from Amazon sales, so the next step for us is distribution beyond that platform. There was a panel on distribution and I knew I would meet some distributors at the expo. Also, it had been awhile since we had made a trip to NYC, so the location helped.
IBPA: For other publishers interested in attending Book Manufacturing Mastered in the future, can you give a general overview of the event’s schedule?
RJ: I’ve attended a lot of industry conferences and the format of this one was unique. All of the sessions were panel discussions. It was also a short conference at just a day and a half. Registration was on a Monday afternoon followed by the opening panel on print on demand (POD) innovations. I was particularly interested in what Matt Mullin had to say as he is a key account manager for Ingram where we have our catalog. And neither he nor the rest of the panelists disappointed. It was very interesting. The next day was full of panel discussions on all aspects of book production.
IBPA: Can you share three things you learned at the conference that you found the most helpful?
RJ: For us, I think the most helpful thing was learning how retail distribution deals tend to be structured and how that can sometimes be unique to the publisher depending on their strengths. We also learned a lot from the various business models employed by the panelists whether they were publishers, printers, or fulfillment centers. It’s always good to meet printers face to face to talk about how they can meet our needs and the particular benefits that each company brings to the table. The other thing we learned which was validating was that our sales volume was comparable with some of the smaller traditional publishing companies with more of a retail presence. From our various imprints, we sold over 213,000 paperbacks through Amazon in 2019.
IBPA: What did you learn that surprised you the most?
RJ: I spent many years during my early career with some binderies that serve the K-12 school market so I was fairly familiar with the printing process, but it was gratifying to hear how all of the printers in attendance were making technological strides resulting in lowering the costs of POD and offering that as a solution in addition to offset printing.
IBPA: What are your thoughts about print on demand? Was your opinion of POD changed at the event?
RJ: I found out that it’s not just the big sales platforms that offer POD but nearly every printer has a portion of their printing as POD and the quality has been high for several years now. I didn’t realize how big a portion of these printers’ business was POD and that it is such an available option when it comes to printing and fulfillment off of Amazon.
IBPA: Now that you’ve attended the event, do you have any tips for indie publishers to help them have a successful experience at the event in the future?
RJ: I was impressed with all of the other attendees and how relevant they were to our business. If you want contacts with companies like Lulu, Ingram, etc. those people are here... as well as distributors and printers, of course.
IBPA: Were there opportunities at the event to network?
RJ: After the opening panel discussion, the next several hours were dedicated to a reception and expo where potential print partners set up displays, samples, and catalogs. So that was fantastic and there was lots of great connecting all during the final day as well.
IBPA: Can you briefly describe the history of how Day Drankin’ Press came to be?
RJ: Sure! Here’s the short version. I turned fourteen in 1990, and never bothered with fifteen or twenty or any other age because things that are fourteen-funny are the best, so I chose to remain in that headspace for the duration. It was from this lack of adult development that Day Drankin’ Press was born in 2015 on a family vacation. The team consists of myself, my sister, and our spouses. One of our first wins was approaching the guys at PeopleofWalmart.com with the idea to create their first official adult coloring book. That was a really fun project and was in complete alignment with our sophisticated highbrow leanings. Then we did one for Dogshaming.com among other similar projects. These brands were amazing and great to work with. A year ago, we launched our children’s imprint, Big Dreams Art Supplies, which has been full of fun projects for us.
IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?
RJ: For us, being primarily an Amazon publisher, learning the nuances of their ad platform has been really advantageous. Also, networking with other publishers has greatly sped up our progress and a lot of our success is directly attributable to the knowledge and help we’ve gotten from others. Networking and friendships in this space are critically important and very rewarding both professionally and personally.
IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?
RJ: I get a ton of value from the bi-monthly magazine, the IBPA Independent, as well as all of the great vendor discounts. I also hope to make it to next year's IBPA Publishing University conference, as it always has a fabulous lineup of speakers and workshops.
|Day Drankin' Press' latest title, Florida Man the Epic Adult Coloring Book: Outrageous Tales of Misadventure and Mayhem
IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?
RJ: Our latest book might be our most absurd and ridiculous yet. We released it from a new imprint last month and the title is Florida Man the Epic Adult Coloring Book: Outrageous Tales of Misadventure and Mayhem.
IBPA: A lot has changed since you answered the above questions and attended Book Manufacturing Mastered in February. Can you share any tips for other independent publishers about how to weather the effects of the coronavirus crisis on their businesses?
RJ: When I answered the above questions after the conference in mid-February, our country wasn't experiencing anything like what we are today due to the COVID-19 virus. Our collective mood has certainly darkened since so please forgive any silliness in my previous answers. My heart goes out to the people of New York as well as those on the front lines and the affected all over the country. We have been very fortunate to be publishers right now compared to so many other businesses. People are buying books and they need yours. For those experiencing diminishing sales, I can tell you that the big advertisers are NOT advertising on Facebook right now.
This has opened up a big opportunity for the little guys like us. We're getting cheaper conversions, more traffic, and more sales due to the big decrease in advertising competition on that platform. I would also suggest that you go all in on Amazon's advertising platform if you haven't already. We're still experiencing high volume with our print on demand titles through KDP. With many supply chains disrupted, Amazon has four main facilities for print on demand books and they are all running full tilt, at least in early April as I write this. As publishers, our businesses are better positioned than most. And for that I am extremely grateful. People still need to learn. They still need to be entertained. We can meet those needs. Good luck and good health to you all.
IBPA: Thank you for sharing your insight with the IBPA community, Ryan! We wish all the best health to you and your team, and we’re glad that Book Manufacturing Mastered was such a beneficial event for you.
Click here to check out titles from Day Drankin’ Press!
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