By Melissa Donovan
The book publishing industry has dramatically evolved over the past few years. Educational books, self published authors, and photobooks for consumers are among the various applications that benefit from digital printing.
In the midst of electronic publishing and the rising popularity of tablets and eReaders, many print providers in the book printing field have risen to the occasion. Accepting the new environment as it is and reaping its benefits, the two print providers profiled below do more than keep up with the economic climate, they leverage the latest technology to stay ahead of the competition.
Gasch Printing opened in 1982 in Odenton, MD. It offers a variety of printing applications with a heavy emphasis on digital book printing. Clients include independent authors all the way to major publishing companies with several associations in between.
The shop is 100 percent digital, utilizing multiple roll-fed web presses designed for book applications, as well as multiple, cut-sheet color printers. In house binding options include perfect binding, case binding, and saddle stitching. The entire portfolio is housed in over 80,000 square feet of warehouse space.
Approximately two years ago, Gasch Printing added the Canon U.S.A., Inc. imagePRESS 7010VP to its portfolio. Coincidentally, according to Jeremy Hess, director of sales and marketing, Gasch Printing, as volume increased, the need for another press presented itself and the print provider added a second one a year ago. Both presses are used to print all book covers, as well as full-color inside contents.
When deciding on a new device, the team at Gasch Printing prioritized color consistency. “Being a book printer who spends a lot of time ensuring colors are accurate, the ability to reproduce those colors for reprints is crucial,” explains Hess.
The Canon imagePRESS 7010VP addresses the color challenge. Automatic and Reciprocal Color Density Adjustment Technology detects the density of color patches on the photoconductor drum to calibrate every line per inch in real time. For quick, periodic adjustments, imagePRESS C7010VP digital color presses measure color patches on media using a color toner density sensor in the post-fusing process.
Implementing a digital production press such as the Canon imagePRESS 7010VP is a physical representation of Hess’ current stance on digital printing in book publishing. In his experience, digital printing has assisted publishers in preventing overprinting. It provides the option of printing smarter and faster, while still maintaining a reasonable price.
“Digital printing has given publishers options they never had before when it comes to print on demand and zero inventory models, and the abilities to bring out-of-print book titles back to life with zero risk,” he explains.
Hess knows the industry is changing in regards to what is printed and the run length, but he views it as positive. “We aren’t printing less, but printing smarter with smaller quantities, more reprints, and less waste. Print is definitely not dead, with more studies coming out that show people still prefer printed material and even absorb it better than an electronic version, print is simply evolving and even expanding into new areas that were not possible years ago,” he continues.
Those new areas include self publishing, which Hess says continues to skyrocket. Combined with the Internet and social media, self publishers can control their books end to end—from print to publication and promotion.
Gasch Printing’s success partially hinges on the acceptance that the publishing model continues to evolve. Accepting the short-run capabilities of its all-digital shop allows them to participate in the hottest market trends while still efficiently catering to its more traditional clientele.
Total Printing Systems
Total Printing Systems (TPS) is based in Newton, IL. Started in 1973 by Richard and Wendy Lindemann, the company owns two production facilities and a warehouse facility. 45 full-time employees round out the roster.
TPS is a complete short-run book manufacturer, focusing on 100 to 10,000 copies in a print run at its main facility. The client base includes small- to mid-sized publishers, larger publishers, printers and print brokers, independent publishers and authors, and government agencies.
At its second facility, considered the Demand and Print Facility, the staff specializes in one-off book production. “We mainly focus on offering print on demand services to publishers who have a large set of backlist titles, which they would like to keep in print, but do not sell enough per year to maintain physical inventory,” explains Rick Lindemann, VP, TPS.
The print provider’s in-house bindery department includes perfect binding, saddle stitching, mechanical binding, adhesive case binding, loose leaf, shrink wrapping, kitting, and fulfillment.
It utilizes both offset and digital inkjet presses in house. Lindemann admits that most of the company’s work runs through its inkjet devices except for two main scenarios. If a known large quantity in the high thousands or tens of thousands comes in, then offset printers are used. When it comes to digital and the decision whether to run on a toner device versus an inkjet, a short run of one to a hundred—depending on page count and required image quality—is almost always more economical to run on toner-based equipment.
In 2008, TPS added to its portfolio with an investment in a Screen USA Truepress Jet520, with the official install occurring in early 2009. Lindemann says that before the implementation of the Screen Truepress Jet520 it only ran two dedicated B&W inkjet web presses. “We were getting requests from our customers for higher resolution, higher end black-only output. We were also turning away or losing many four-color book orders,” he continues.
To combat the loss of business, TPS added a Kodak NexPress M700 to print four-color interiors in July 2008. The press was running at full capacity one month later. The result inspired them to purchase the Screen Truepress Jet520, knowing that the client base really did have a substantial need for interior four-color work.
The Screen Truepress Jet250 prints on rolls of inkjet, standard, and uncoated paper up to 20.4 inches wide. Its top printing speed of 420 feet per minute (fpm) enables fast turnarounds and efficient production of high print volumes. It offers high-quality B&W and color output.
Installing the new press allowed TPS to maintain—and even grow—the print volume of many of its B&W clients, especially as some of those customers were initially weary of the image quality due to experiences with the older model inkjet web presses. Lindemann also says that the print provider’s four-color work grew from 350,000 impressions a month in 2008 to over eight million per month over the next few years.
TPS continues to have a great relationship with Screen and as such recently added the company’s new Truepress Jet520EX-Monochrome. It prints at up to 420 fpm on coated and uncoated stock, inkjet paper, and standard paper.
The print provider added the device because it was looking for additional four-color capacity. While it had the capability with its current device, it was over 50 percent occupied with B&W work. Instead of instituting another color press, TPS looked to monochrome.
“When running the Screen Truepress Jet520, in black only, we run at different speeds and corresponding print resolutions/image qualities. Many customers love the image quality of the press at 64 meters per minute (mpm), but the ink density at 128 mpm didn’t quite fit their needs,” admits Lindemann.
By instituting the new Screen Truepress Jet520EX-Monochrome, the company opened up millions of impressions worth of capacity on the four-color press, while increasing the image quality and ink density of its B&W work at higher speeds.
As a result, the Screen Truepress Jet520 now runs about 12 hours a day, five days a week. It prints educational texts, directories, promotional saddle stitched booklets, and medical booklets.
TPS’ hardware acquisitions have helped it and its peers transform the world of book publishing. Similar to Gasch Printing’s stance, Lindemann believes that digital printing has completely revolutionized the publishing industry.
“What could have been a dying field of endeavor has transformed into a leaner, more profitable, sustainable, and technology-leading industry. From the front end of test marketing and advanced readers’ copies to main production runs in the hundreds and thousands to the backlit reorders of one, it’s completely changed,” says Lindemann.
Gasch Printing and TPS are examples of book printers adapting to the benefits of digital and how it affects short run book production. In both scenarios, these printers understand the opportunity in digital and how it helps them eliminate waste while simultaneously opening up possibilities for smaller runs that were once not viable—economically or environmentally—to publishers. Remaining positive and acquiring the right hardware allows Gasch Printing and TPS to achieve success. dps
Sep2014, DPS Magazine