By Olivia Cahoon
Digital print technologies help book publishers transition to cost-effective production. Publishing sectors include small to large publishing houses, self-publishers, libraries, and educational services. Each publisher’s needs are different, from fast turnaround times to small book production batches.
Digital presses grant book manufacturers value-added features to produce attractive displays and combat competition. Here, we explore the need for efficient and cost-effective digital book manufacturing driven by the latest publishing demands.
Bridgeport National Bindery
Presenting an example of a mid-sized book manufacturer servicing the on demand space, Bridgeport National Bindery is a privately owned and operated book manufacturing facility in Agawam, MA. With 100 employees, the bindery celebrates 85 years in business and focuses on printing and binding hardcover and softcover books. The shop relies on both electrophotographic (EP) and inkjet technologies for color and monochrome output.
The print provider serves Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. Its manufacturing facility is 135,000 square feet. The company strives to integrate today’s electronic ordering and on demand digital printing with a traditional standard of quality.
It works with publisher sales channels to fulfill orders as business to business and business to consumer. The company serves literary markets including children’s books, independent and self-publishers, online publishers, photobooks, small- to medium-sized publishers, and trade.
“We designed Bridgeport Bindery to be a digital and inkjet printer only, no offset capabilities,” says Michele Brennan, VP, Bridgeport National Bindery.
With 13 digital presses in color and monochrome, Bridgeport Bindery offers a 72 hour turnaround for most orders. Brennan says the company’s business model and workflow is agile and flexible to support service level agreements of two to three days for ship dates.
Its services include print on demand, short-run and edition binding, pre-binding services, digitalization and prepress, textbook rebinding, conservation services, and general binding—all produced digitally.
“The distribution model was king when there was only one type of printing method,” admits Brennan. But with advancements in digital print technology, the model is fading and for some publishers, it cannot be financially supported.
Most publishers want books available for immediate shipping. Digital print technologies allow publishers to print the exact number of requested books without managing overstock.
Bridgeport Bindery uses HP and Xeikon EP presses as well as the HP T230 for color output. For monochrome work, it uses Canon Océ printers, a Xerox Nuvera, and the HP T230 color inkjet press.
The HP PageWide Web Press T230 prints up to 20.5 inches wide at 200 feet per minute (fpm) in color and 400 fpm in monochrome. It includes four-color production printing at 1,200×600 dpi addressable resolution. The press is compatible with uncoated offset stock, ground wood, and newsprint.
“Our publishers are looking to take advantage of selling all of their titles. Backlists are an important revenue stream and in the past, it was impossible to print a short run of 250 books using offset. Most CFOs like to have this opportunity to sell what buyers want, any quantity,” explains Brennan.
The company specializes in short-run edition binding for runs of 25 to 1,000 books. For short-run edition binding applications, it offers head banding, rounding and backing, shrink-wrapping, four styles of cloth covers, printed laminated covers, and various colored paper. Before digital print capabilities, these applications would take more time and employees to finish the job.
For self-publishers and small presses, the company creates and stores clients’ digital files following the current national standards. It also provides metadata so files are ready to be uploaded directly to webpages.
Alongside digital presses, finishing and binding equipment remains productive as it advances to integrate with digital technology. “Most digital presses and book manufacturers easily print and bind a book in minutes,” says Brennan.
Bridgeport Bindery offers pre-binding to create durable library books. This includes nylon reinforced, cold glue, or polyurethane reactive (PUR) binding guaranteed for two years of regular use. The company also offers textbook rebinding, which offers schools an alternative to buying new.
The print provider implements finishing equipment from C.P Bourg, Muller Martini, Standard Horizon, and Tecnau.
The company uses Muller Martini’s Sigma Binder and Trimmer for book production. The binder includes cover matching, book block feeding, barcode reading, and cover rejection. It features a milling and notching station and runs up to 1,000 covers per hour.
The Sigma Trimmer is designed for finishing in a one-off, short- or large-run workflow. It is fully automated with infinite trim variability and accommodates non-standard trim sizes. The trimmer delivers 1,000 fully variable books per hour.
Aside from faster and efficient production speeds, digital technology changes how books are viewed. “People are looking for more of what I call, ‘jewelry’ on the book,” says Brennan. Digital presses allow book covers and pages to include value-added features like deckle edge paper, metallic, open spines exposing the bound edge, scented inks, three color stamping, and textured lamination.
“These designers want something special but produced in an automated way,” explains Brennan. With digital technology, Bridgeport Bindery serves its customers efficiently.
From self-publishing to large-scale publishers, Bookmasters has grown its digital book manufacturing operation. Founded in 1972 as a small book manufacturing company, it serves over 1,200 customers with an employee base of 165. The company is in Ashland, OH, and its customers span Canada, Europe, and the U.S. from a 240,000-square foot work area.
The company offers book manufacturing using offset and short-run digital, print on demand, full-service distribution, warehousing, fulfillment, eBook sales and distribution, and editorial and design. It assists publishers from manuscript to book production, distribution, and fulfillment for education, mid- and large-sized publishers, religion, self-publishers, and trade.
Its customized design and editorial services include art creation, assessment, copyediting, cover design, eBook conversion, indexing, interior design, proofreading, and typesetting.
The book manufacturer provides the flexibility to choose one service or bundle several to save time and money. It ships over 5,000 orders per week and has over 15,000 titles available for sale. The manufacturing company works with publishers like Arcturus, Christian Focus Publications, Flame Tree, Lexham Press, and Purdue University Press.
One of its most popular book printing services, short-run digital printing, is intended for print runs from 100 to 1,000 copies—allowing the shop to produce books in one- to five-color in a variety of bindings.
Ken Fultz, GM, Bookmasters, says that digital print technology plays a huge role in the company’s book production. It accounts for 30 percent of the company’s total revenue and 50 percent of its print revenue. “Ten years ago, digital was five percent of our total revenue and ten percent of our print revenue, it has grown significantly,” adds Fultz.
The company implements digital technology to meet customer demands for short runs and inventory management. Fultz believes digital allows a more efficient inventory replenishment for the company’s distribution clients, including better management and zero freight. “With an aging offset equipment base, it was more prudent to invest in digital,” says Fultz.
Bookmasters owns several digital printers for its book production, including the Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 inkjet press, the Canon Océ ColorStream 3900, multiple Canon PIXMA MG6320’s, Canon imagePRESS C7011VPs, and several Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C8000s.
The company installed the Océ VarioPrint i300 inkjet in late 2016. It runs monochrome and color print jobs on one engine and prints up to 294 letter images per minute. Targeting heavy production volumes of one to ten million pages per month, Océ iQuarius technology enables sheet entry control, precision sheet control, an instant drying unit, and an inline quality control system.
Bookmasters installed the Océ ColorStream 3900 monochrome with Hunkeler unwind and cut stack in early 2017. It prints up to 417 fpm with a maximum print width of 21 inches. The ColorStream 3900 is configured to match production requirements. It includes up to six colors, simplex and duplex productivity, and print speed enhancements.
“There’s a rapidly growing interest in shorter runs where buyers embrace the total cost cycle of a book versus just the unit purchase cost,” explains Fultz. He believes the advantage of printing short-run digital and print on demand for inventory replenishment strategy is taking hold of the business.
Finishing is essential to the book manufacturing process. The company employs a range of binding options that include adhesive case, double wire-o, lay-flat, perfect bind, plastic coil, plastic comb, printed case wrap, PUR, saddle stitch, Smyth sewn case, and stamped cloth and jacketed case.
The book manufacturer’s finishing solutions include the Muller Martini Sigma Binder, Standard Horizon BQ-470 Perfect Binder, and On Demand Machinery (ODM) and GP2 Technologies case makers and binding solutions.
The Standard Horizon BQ-470 is a fully automated four-clamp binder with fully-automated setup. It produces up to 1,350 bound books per hour and features a 10.4-inch LCD touch screen. The BQ-470 binds books up to 2.5 inches thick and its interchangeable glue tanks support ethylene-vinyl acetate and PUR adhesives. Its PUR glue tank allows the bindery to service digital color books.
Bookmasters upholds a comprehensive recycling program and uses biodegradable inks. Its environmental responsibilities include ten, 30, and 100 percent post-consumer waste papers for manufacturing.
Edwards Brothers Malloy
A global print solutions provider, Edwards Brothers Malloy transitioned to digital after recognizing a market shift in inventory management. Established in 1893, the company serves publishers of all sizes including self-published authors in Ann Arbor, MI. It specializes in short-run manufacturing and offers distribution services for smaller publishers while bringing in 90 million dollars in annual sales.
The book manufacturer began as a mimeographing and typewriting business. With the evolution of print technology, it soon made its way to offset in 1930 and digital in 2013 with the Ricoh InfoPrint 5000. Today, digital print is 30 percent of the company’s business.
With 600 employees and multiple locations, the company serves global print solutions from North America to Asia. Edwards Brothers Malloy owns and operates seven digital printing facilities and provides manufacturing and shipping services from IL, MI, NC, and PA within the U.S. and the U.K. Its offset manufacturing facility in MI has 186,000 square feet of space and its digital and printing facility 100,000 square feet.
“We’re a book and journal manufacturer—most of what we do ends up in a bookstore, classroom, library, or home,” says John Edwards, president/CEO, Edwards Brothers Malloy, Inc. Its markets include kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education markets, trade publishers, associations, self-publishing, and scientific, technical, and medical publishers.
“We like to be diversified in the markets we serve as a hedge against market fluctuations—if one segment is down, another is usually up. The common denominator is that we specialize in short runs of fewer than 10,000 copies,” adds Edwards.
The company recognizes the advantages of digital print for book publishers as no minimum page count or bulk requirements for soft covers, the ability to produce ultra-thin bound books, no compromise for trim size, and “green” digital printing.
Edwards Brothers Malloy moved into digital after recognizing the market shift and as inventory became a major concern for controlling costs. “Publishers could no longer afford to focus solely on the unit cost of a book—they needed to start looking at the total landed costs of each title, including the cost of unsold inventory,” explains Edwards.
As run lengths became shorter, the company realized that offset operation was not cost effective at runs under 200 copies. After the installation of its first digital print center in 1997, the company reinvented its purpose to provide publishers with an alternative to offset. Digital print allows the company to produce books in 24 hours or less.
According to Edwards, “the market is always looking for faster schedules. Digital printing has helped us get there without sacrificing quality.” He believes digital manufacturing should be a part of every book’s life plan from initial print run to print on demand digital services. “We call this life of title management. Through better forecasting and planning, publishers can manage printing and inventory more closely to actual demand, thus reducing inventory and associated costs.”
The company’s digital centers include a mix of presses from Canon Océ, Kodak, Xerox, a Ricoh Pro C9110 toner press, and the recently installed Ricoh Pro VC60000 inkjet press.
The Ricoh Pro VC60000 produces 1,200×1,220 dpi at 164 fpm. It handles a maximum paper size of 20.5 inches and includes climate controls for added dry heat with an optional extended dryer. The Ricoh Pro C9110 stores up to 18,150 sheets of paper and produces two-sided specialty and oversized projects up to 27.5 inches long. It prints on specialty media including coated, metallic, super gloss, and transparent.
“They offer the speed and quality we’re looking for in our digital operation—things that can give us a direct competitive advantage,” shares Edwards.
The company’s finishing solutions include a variety of equipment from C.P. Bourg, Muller Martini, and Standard Horizon binders, GP2 and ODM case makers, Foliant and GBC laminators, and Challenge and Standard Horizon cutters and trimmers. “We’re constantly looking for the most cost-effective way to produce a quality digital book,” says Edwards.
Edwards Brothers Malloy offers journal service printing from design assistance to production support. The company is a short- to medium-run journal manufacturer that serves scientific, technical, mathematical, professional, and library markets. Its client base includes the University of Chicago Press, American Bar Association, American Accounting Association, Sage Publications, and Springer Science Publishing. Its journal services division produces more than 600 scholarly publications.
According to Edwards, not all publishers utilize digital manufacturing to its fullest potential yet, he says, but the trend is moving quickly as the quality of digital manufacturing becomes indistinguishable. “We’re seeing more of a mix over the life of each title, with smaller printings done more often to keep inventory alignment with current demand,” he adds.
Digital Book Publishing
Digital print technology allows traditional manufacturers, including publishers, to update book production to meet consumer demands. Digital presses and finishing solutions bring a variety of value-added impressions and offer print on demand, small batches of book production, and innovative cover design. Self-publishers, publishing houses of all sizes, and educational institutions benefit from the advancements of digital print and finishing technology.
May2017, DPS Magazine