When the United States entered into the recession in 2007, businesses across multiple industries suffered. However, the printing and publishing industries had an especially difficult time, as advancing technologies also pushed the trend to “going digital.” Book manufacturers have been trying to find ways to adequately balance customers’ desires of digital media while staying profitable with physical products.

Kevin Spall, CEO and president of Thomson-Shore, knows firsthand the difficulty of such a task, as his publishing company is still working through it. According to Spall, revenues dropped more than 20 percent in 2008, prompting the first layoff notices in the employee-owned firm’s 40-year history.

He explained to The Detroit Free Press that along with his management team, it was decided to change Thomson-Shore’s approach. Spall introduced new digital services while enhancing offerings in the company’s traditional niche of short- and medium-size print runs, typically 1,000 to 1,500 books. The publishing firm also added a digital print center and conversion from e-book format for Kindles, Nooks and the Sony eReader.

It paid off. Spall said that the annual revenues of about $35.5 million are back to pre-recession levels and they are slowly hiring more employees.

Even with the digital boom, the CEO added that it still makes most of its money through traditional lithography.

“We expect to see double-digit growth next year,” Spall said in an interview with the news source. “It’s ironic that a lot of that bright expectation is a result of the recession, because we had to reinvent ourselves.”

Reinvention doesn’t necessarily mean completely tossing out original concepts. When a printing company can integrate new mediums into the old, they can find success. Additionally, ensuring that the physical product is well-made and protected, will reassure customers. Professional laminating machines and binding equipment will keep documents sturdy and able to withstand multiple handlings.