A New Chapter in Flexible Book Production

Short run promotional sample giveaways for airports, special edition book club runs or promotionally customised offerings.

These creative possibilities are among those that could shape the future of short run digital book production.

Some are already having an impact on today’s route to market for books as we saw at the London Book Fair this month. For example independent co-edition packager Elwin Street produced small quantities of offset-like quality books to cost effectively market their new trade list.

Titles chosen for this innovative treatment were The Vegetarian Year by Jane Hughes, endorsed by the UK Vegetarian Society; The Alkaline Cookbook by Dr Stephan Domenig and the Alkaline Cleanse, the follow-up to the best-selling Alkaline Cure; Love, Aimee x featuring 50 original, creative desserts from Aimee Twigger’s kitchen, as featured on her popular blog.

The new approach was supported by highly flexible, cost effective, easy to operate digital printing production technology from Ricoh and saw 50 editions of each produced.

Elwin Street’s Director Silvia Langford commented that the ability of Ricoh’s digital presses to produce books with high production values in very small quantities enables the publisher to show clients what new titles will look like.

The result was more conversations with more prospects.

However digitally printing books opens up additional opportunities. With digital print it is possible to produce personalised, customised versions of books.

Lost My Name is one company that has already reaped the rewards of personalisation in publishing. David Cadji-Newby who founded the company with three others developed The Little Girl/Boy Who Lost Her/His Name – an illustrated hardback which creates a personalised story around the letters of a child’s name. It has sold 500,000 copies to date, according to its publishers.

A slow start prompted the founders to appear on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den television show, where they secured £100,000 in return for 4% of the company – the highest valuation in the programme’s history. The 30-strong team now ships books, printed on demand, to 136 countries.

It is this kind of innovative approach that will shape the future for book production which is whyat Ricoh we see publishing as a significant opportunity for our digital print technologies. The flexibility that digital print can offer – especially for very short runs – presents so much choice.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

It helps publishers like Elwin Street take a more considered approach to their print production processes – they can agree run lengths that suits today’s demand and know there is the ability to produce variable quantities in the future.

So is it time you looked at what considerations should you be evaluating and how can we help?

Embracing An Inkjet Future

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

It is fair to say inkjet’s ability to conquer the complex playing field of comercial print faced initial doubts from some quarters of the graphic arts market.  But just months after announcing the Ricoh ProTM VC60000 continuous feed production inkjet platform, we are now getting a clear idea of how rapidly the market is opening up.

The possibilities are very exciting!

Every fresh conversation we have presents new opportunities. We can see that inkjet presses are frequently replacing web-fed presses for applications like direct mail, books and newspapers, and that there is a growing volume of true commercial print applications going on these presses as well. This is due to the increased quality, flexibility and productivity offered.

Our clients agree.

Zalsman, a leading Dutch media and graphics company, believes inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive.

Hansaprint, part of the Nordic TS-Group, is discovering new markets.

Parajett, in Sweden, says inkjet is the future when it comes to assuring high quality production.

All have invested in the Ricoh Pro VC60000.

Zalsman chose the press to help it continue to combine craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technologies to harness the potential of Big Data cost-effectively. Hugo Verlind, Director and co-owner, says the business can now offer clients a brighter, better and broader offering.

Jukka Saariluoma, Business Unit Director for Hansaprint, says that from day one clients will benefit from higher print quality and a wider variety of substrates. In the long run, he states, the greatest benefit for end users and for Hansaprint is the ability to produce new and innovative products. Initial focus will be on loyalty programmes, direct mail, transpromo, transactional and books. Jukka predicts that there will be a significant shift of volumes to inkjet both from offset and toner printing.

Our Pro VC60000 has been sold to Parajett, Sweden

Our Pro VC60000 has been sold to Parajett, Sweden

Parajett can often be found at the forefront of market evolution, and Anders Persson, CEO, is confident that the new press will deliver the quality and performance expected. It will also enable Parajett to print with ink, rather than toner, on a wider range of stock, particularly heavier substrates.

Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner. It’s coming out fighting!

As the true potential of these presses, including their capability, productivity and profitability, are better understood and harnessed in the day-to-day production environment, we will learn even more. In turn, as our knowledge grows, we can help clients create a highly effective mix of services that support the demands of an ever-changing end-user landscape.

While the technology is creating a new print production vista, our view of the horizon ensures that we are able to help clients make the most of every new dawn. That is why we believe the Ricoh Pro VC60000 will become a pivotal investment for companies looking to develop and enhance their services.

(This article originally appeared in Whattheythink European Printing Industry Coverage from WhatTheyThink.com)

#HID2015 is a Wrap! So What’s Next?

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To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.

Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint.  With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions.  This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping.  This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.

The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable.  It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our Ricoh Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the Ricoh Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!),  the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees.  This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more.  It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.

Not only were our technology demonstrations a hit, but one could argue the range and quality of our samples made its way around the floor even faster.

In fact many people – including some members of the press – commented that Ricoh has set a new bar for quality in colour inkjet.

Visitors to the stand could not only see the technology, but there were also plentiful samples from the Ricoh portfolio. This included samples from the Ricoh Pro VC60000 printed on offset-coated stock, the market-leading InfoPrint 5000, the Ricoh Pro C9100 series and the Ricoh Pro C7100X.  From trade books and marketing collateral to coffee table books, there was something for everyone to touch, feel and take home.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

If you were unable to join us in Lucerne, or even if your schedule did not allow the time to explore in depth how Ricoh might support your businesses evolution, you might consider visiting our new European centre of excellence, the Customer Experience Centre, in Telford, UK.

If you missed what we had to share at HID 2015, visit this blog to hear more about our technologies and applications.  You can also visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the show or follow our @RicohEUBDriver Twitter feed for flashbacks.

Danke, Switzerland.  Looking forward to 2017!

Colour Inkjet Users Are Turning To Monochrome

As another Hunkeler Innovationdays is almost upon us, we at Ricoh have been looking at the past year’s technology trends and how they’re impacting you.  One area where we’ve seen a lot of movement is the shift from colour to monochrome inkjet systems. While this step might be unintuitive, or even backward, as colour applications are dominating the conversation about where print is headed, this fact still remains: 85% of books printed are black and white (and this stat also applies to all print impressions beyond the book industry, including the insurance, transaction and regulatory industries).  Couple that with inkjet’s flexibility of accommodating different applications, the shift towards shorter runs, and the opportunities to take on more types of work, and you have the formula for monochrome inkjet being a quiet, but powerful tool in modern printing.

Rural Wit and Wisdom

Rural Wit and Wisdom

So why the shift, you ask? The book market as a whole, especially trade books, have transitioned to producing books in very short runs as part of moving to a weekly replacement model in an effort to reduce costs by avoiding keeping inventory on hand.  This trend has caused a shift from conventional toner-based printing presses to inkjet systems, which are designed to handle variable applications. There are thousands of toner machines in print shops that have been in use for ten or more years, becoming even more costly to operate as time goes on.  Printers are often adopting colour inkjet first to accommodate their more graphic applications, and after realising the significant efficiencies and cost savings they’ve gained in productivity, they want to match that productivity for their monochrome work, which isn’t as cost-effective to run on a colour system.

What awaits printers on the other side of their implementation of the InfoPrint 5000 MP monochrome inkjet system is a pleasant surprise: In addition to flexibility of being able to switch jobs on the fly without calibrating and the ability to do shorter runs, they retain the print quality of toner-based systems.  The InfoPrint 5000 is a rare specimen among digital inkjet systems for its affordability, and it’s the only machine that can match the optical density of blacks that the book market values.

The power of monochrome inkjet for the book market will be on display at Hunkeler Innovationdays in the form of an updated and expanded edition of “Rural Wit and Wisdom”, a timeless classic by best-selling author Jerry Apps.  The 154-page book melds black-and-white photographs by Steve Apps with a collection of common phrases, observations, comments, and conundrums celebrating the lighter side of life in the Midwest.  Printed on the InfoPrint 5000 MP Monochrome at 720 x 360dpi resolution on CVG LETSGO Silk 90gsm, the samples at the show bring the promise of high-quality monochrome inkjet to life.  (And the cover, printed on the RICOH Pro C9110X, showcases how colour cutsheet can complement monochrome inkjet.)

To learn more about the evolution of the book market and its relationship with print, read this white paper by IT Strategies’ Marco Boer.  And be sure to check out vivid monochrome output at our booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays, and learn more about the InfoPrint 5000 MP Mono here.

 

A brighter future for print

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot
Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing
Ricoh Europe

Today’s print communications ecosystem is complex with a number of supply lines. Each one has weaknesses and strengths, but I see three main drivers of change – all of which are moving volumes away from offset to digital printing.

The first is the economic crisis. It was bad for some operations but good for others. Commercial printers found it hard to get loans to make capital equipment investments, and marketers spent less. Meanwhile, packaging specialists thrived for the simple reason people went to restaurants less, which meant they cooked at home more.

The second is the growing adoption of production inkjet printing for a broad range of applications previously produced using offset technology, driving the adoption life cycle of inkjet.  There has been a lot of generic talk about digital printing based on toner, but that technology has never replaced offset. Although the quality was good, digital toner-based printing was never able to offer the speed or reach the price point of offset over long runs. Full colour production inkjet is a relatively new entrant to the market. Ricoh announced the IP5000 in 2007 and had a first installation in the UK.  It is non-impact printing technology, so there is no need for a blanket or photo imaging plate. Inkjet uses heat, pressure or electrical impulses to push ink directly onto the substrate. It delivers speed, increasing quality and the ability to print on many substrates, helping it become a viable alternative to offset. Now we see production inkjet printing being adopted in book, newspaper and direct mail production and, increasingly, in general commercial applications.

The third is the change in media habits. Readership is going down. Last year in the U.S., more than a quarter of adults didn’t read a book – regardless of whether it was an ebook or printed book. However, there has been increased talk about the different penetration rates of various media including tablets and e-media. Many direct mail campaigns have been using digital for some time – either in a hybrid manufacturing model or, increasingly as full colour inkjet.  Another habit affecting print media is the use of smart phones or tablets to take advantage of interactive print capabilities using technologies such as a QR codes, Clickable Paper or page recognition in books, direct mail or newspapers. The Ikea catalogue is a very good example of this.

This is how today’s market is shaping up, and there is a further development on the way that will impact operations in the longer term – functional printing. This term encompasses an array of sectors from 3D to textiles and packaging. Frank Romano stated a few years ago that, in 20 years’ time, functional print could represent 40% of a printer’s business. It offers improved efficiencies in production for products such as solar cells and touch screens, which are labour intensive to produce with current processes. Some operations are already pioneering printed electronics with this end use in mind. This approach could be expanded so a book printer could be responsible for creating single-use electronic books, printed in short runs, on demand, by high volume inkjet presses. And for those concerned that this might create more waste, the end product is much easier to recycle than traditional electronic goods.

Currently inkjet presses are frequently replacing web fed presses for limited applications such as books, newspapers and direct mail. But I expect there to be a growing volume of true commercial print applications produced with production inkjet printing, such as catalogues, brochures, fliers, etc., as many of the big players look over the shoulders of pioneers. And those that doubted that inkjet could conquer the true playing field of commercial print can turn their attention to installations in operations such as Zalsman, in the Netherlands who have invested in a Ricoh ProTM VC60000.  Zalsman is a successful mid-sized commercial printer that believes production inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive – for me that is proof that this is going to happen throughout the industry. Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner, and Zalsman is proof of that.

Some people have the view that the graphic arts sector is not an interesting business any more. I disagree with that and can see the transformation that is happening. Steve Jobs said it all comes down to innovation, and innovation is the difference between leaders and followers. There is a great deal of innovation happening in our industry, especially as it relates to production inkjet, and that makes it an exciting business.

I see two ways in which production inkjet is bringing innovation to the graphic arts industry – as a communications technology and as a functional printing technology. If you stick your head in the sand, these opportunities will pass you by; but if you go after them, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. I will be discussing all of this and more during the EBDA Seminar at Hunkleler Innovationdays, 26 February 2015, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Drop by and hear more about how Ricoh can help you investigate the best way to secure a brighter future.

Three Ways Inkjet Has Evolved

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” -Alan Kay, American computer scientist.

This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.

Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies like yours are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications – and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet – and the printers who use it – are innovating print applications and technologies:

White paper in, full colour out

In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.

Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full colour out applications. Whether it’s a full colour transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality.

Short runs

Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customised booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, and versioned textbooks are yet other opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use.

For example, we will be showing at the Hunkeler Innovationdays show this month in Lucerne a full colour book, The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. This is digitally printed on offset stock, delivering the impact and quality that, until now, has been associated only with offset printing. Originally produced in short runs and shown at last year’s London Book Fair, it will be inkjet printed for the first time for Hunkeler Innovationdays.

Personalisation /variable data

The opportunity to customise direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition to intangible, digital forms such as email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is increasing. The clients of printers are demanding high quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper. By virtue of the sheer amount of customer data available to agencies and their brand clients, items like coupons can be customised with items that go beyond the usual name and gender information. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated and reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information that ensures the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colours and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity. Have a look out for the The Bianchi catalogue on our stand. With its challenging brand colours and high quality bike imagery it will demonstrate the results inkjet is capable of such as readily reproducing work previously the preserve of offset.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

All of these innovations will be on display in the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovation Days. Stop by to learn more. We look forward to seeing you at the show.

This article is from European Printing Industry Coverage from WhatTheyThink

 

A Great Innovation Opportunity!

Peter Williams, Executive Vice President, Head of Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Europe

Peter Williams, Executive Vice President, Head of Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Europe

As its name suggests the unique Hunkeler Innovationdays, held every other year in Lucerne, Switzerland, showcases the latest innovations designed to meet the challenges of high volume production in today’s multichannel communications landscape.

This year it runs from February 23 to 26 and Ricoh will again be demonstrating its latest capabilities in document printing solutions for transactional print, publishing, commercial print and direct mail in end-to-end multi-vendor configurations.

Ricoh fully supports Hunkeler Innovationdays because it differs from traditional trade shows in a number of ways.  Highly focused, it gives you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with experts from Ricoh Europe, its partners, other key suppliers to the industry and your peers. As a result you can gain a broader perspective on your document printing needs and review and investigate innovative solutions that will enhance and future-proof your business.

We’re showing a number of exciting new innovations at the show.  For the first time ever, the brand-new, highly modular and scalable Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 production inkjet press will be on display in its full configuration, including undercoat and protector coat capabilities.

We will also be demonstrating how our solutions combine with the Hunkeler Signature, Booklet and Budget Binder to create a complete production system, including variable-sized booklets, and book blocks.

Alongside the Ricoh Pro VC60000 production inkjet press, we are excited to show the new Ricoh Pro™ C9110, our first digital colour press designed specifically for heavy production.

We’ll also be showing  a variety of workflow solutions designed to make your operation more efficient and competitive, including TotalFlow BatchBuilder, a new solution to help you become a super-efficient operation that enables you to accept more jobs, lower total cost of print and grow your business.

I am personally looking forward to Hunkeler Innovationdays as this year it promises to be the best and largest event, ever.  I am especially keen to greet Ricoh’s current and future clients from around the world. Our new range of products and solution means that Ricoh now even more to offer Print Services Providers . Not only do we have an opportunity to provide advice and guidance but we also have the opportunity to learn a great deal from attendees’ feedback, helping us to inform our future development plans.

You can register for the event on www.ricoh-europe.com/hid2015 and we also welcome you to contact your local Ricoh team to schedule one-on-one meetings in advance.  We’re looking forward to showing you how our New Dawn approach can help give your business a new lease of life.

See you in Lucerne!

See Ricoh’s solutions at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015

Printing on offset paper with the Ricoh Pro VC60000

Printing on offset paper with the Ricoh Pro VC60000

Full-colour duplex printing on a paper web from roll-to-roll on the Ricoh Pro VC60000, using latest-generation Ricoh inkjet heads with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi.

Signature, Booklet and Budget Binding Solution

Signature, Booklet and Budget Binding Solution

The 4-colour printed paper web will be processed nearline on the Hunkeler UW6 unwinding module, FM6 folder merger, and the high-performance CS6-HS cross-cutter. The SD7 double star wheel delivery unit will be stacking the signatures into book blocks for budget binding, or producing variable booklets with 8-, 12-, 16- or 20-pages. Production speeds up to 180 meters per minute, and guaranteed gentle processing thanks to the “huncolor” seal of quality

More about Ricoh’s presence at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015

Book printing – an industry in transformation

Book printing dates back to the invention of movable type in the fourteenth century. It has undergone surprisingly few process changes in the intervening centuries—rotary letter presses in the industrial revolution, lithography, and more recently, digital printing. Profound changes in the publishing industry, however, are shaking up the book supply chain as never before and remaking how, when, and where books are
printed.

Online and mobile technology has disrupted the conventional book publishing industry in relatively short order. It has touched virtually every aspect of the industry: how books are published, how they are distributed, how (and if) they are printed, and how they are read. In the process, traditional roles and responsibilities have been rearranged.

Ricoh’s new whitepaper Book Printing – the Remaking of an Industry created by Interquest examines the impact of these transformations on the book printing supply chain, and explores how and why digital book printing is being used in North America and Europe to adapt to the fastchanging environment.

Some of the key findings are:

  • In North America twice as many books are printed digitally as in Western Europe – 10% vs 5%
  • More than half (56%) of the North American book printers recently surveyed by INTERQUEST use high-speed inkjet presses to produce books
Western Europe

In Western Europe, where only 5% of books are printed digitally, the focus is dealing with shorter print runs

Download the whitepaper here.

 

How print is evolving to meet the new needs of the connected world

With more than one-third of the world’s population now online (Pew Research Center), it is little wonder that the role of printed communications is changing. The challenge is that the time spent with various media is rapidly shifting from traditional channels such as radio, TV, and print to internet and mobile channels. This means the role of printed communications must be readjusted and redefined in the broad spectrum of all media.

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Not surprisingly advertising dollars are now moving to online and mobile markets. According to PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013, internet advertising grew by about 16%, and mobile advertising by 47% in 2013.

This has major implications for key areas of printed communications of interest to Print Service Providers.

Direct mail and direct marketing catalogue volume has suffered at the hands of the recent recession and the rise of electronic media. Although both remain key marketing channels for businesses, they are increasingly being orchestrated alongside digital forms of communications.

Transactional printing – unlike direct mail and catalogues, which are business-driven marketing expenditures, transactional printing is increasingly consumer-driven since recipients dictate their preferred delivery methods

Books – Electronic media has profoundly disrupted the book publishing industry by fundamentally altering the dynamics of how books are sold and consumed. Book publishers and book printers are adjusting to the fast moving realities of the market and tapping new business models enabled by publishing in a multichannel world.

Newspapers and magazines have been impacted by online advertising, rising postal costs, and competition from electronic media. Newspapers and magazines remain widely read and trusted, however, and publishers are finding new and innovative ways to combine print with electronic channels.

Our new white paper, Multichannel Communications The Evolution of Printing in a Connected World,  examines how advertisers and publishers are adapting printed products to multichannel realities in a number of key markets: direct mail and direct marketing catalogues; transactional printing; books; and newspapers and magazines.

Download the white paper here