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!

How digital print is injecting new life into Newspapers and Magazines

Magazines and newspapers are well-established and widely read the world over, but like other print media, face serious challenges from online and mobile media. Digital printing as thus far played a marginal role in production, but this is beginning to change as publishers explore new ways to inject life into their printed products.

Ricoh’s new whitepaper, from Interquest, examines the current and future state of magazine and newspapers in North America and Western Europe, and the use of digital
printing for the production or enhancement of these products.

Here are some of the key insights

 

Newspapers

Despite the decline in circulation, digitally printed pages are growing rapidly

Despite the decline in circulation, digitally printed pages are growing rapidly

  • Digital printing has been used for over a decade for newspaper production but is still in an emerging stage of adoption.
  • Early efforts used digital printing to produce newpapers on demand near end-consumer locations such as airports, resorts, and hotels.
  • The most important developments for the use of digital printing in the newspaper market have been with inkjet systems, which are faster and feature higher capacity, larger format, better quality, and lower TCO.

Magazines – leading trends 

  • Titles Up, Circulation Down—In developing countries overall magazine circulation has declined..
  • Newsstand Sales Suffer—Magazines are circulated at retail outlets and by subscription
  • Ad Pages Contract—declines in circulation and competition from digital advertising have led to a decrease in advertising revenue for magazine publishers. Since 2007 total ad pages in the U.S. have dropped by 8.2%.
  • Cross-Media—According to The Association of Magazine Media, a high percentage of magazine readers are also internet users and have made purchases online; in addition magazine advertising triggers the highest percentage of online searches among all media, so cross-media opportunities abound.

Despite declining print runs, most magazines still fall outside the cost, quality, and/or throughput parameters of digital presses. Even so, opportunites are available for toner and inkjet printing systems in areas such as distributed print, personalisation and customisation, wraps and inserts, self-publishing, and branded editions.

To find out more, download Ricoh’s new whitepaper: Newspapers and Magazines –Newspapers and Magazines – The Outlook for Traditional Print Media NA and Europe

 

 

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

Interquest Reveals Publishing’s Self Awareness

Every conference, seminar or industry event likes to throw up a controversial statistic or two to get the attendees thinking, talking and sharing. Interquest’s Digital Book Printing Forum in London on June 24 was no exception.

The statement that struck a chord with most of the 120 or so representatives from the book printing and publishing industries in the UK and across Europe was this: self-publishing authors will capture 50% of the ebook market by 2020.

Whether they agreed or disagreed with the projection was one thing but more interesting was the question of defining self-publishing. Where does self-publishing stop and publishing begin? Andy Cork, Managing Director, PrintonDemand Worldwide, explained customers could choose the level of help they would like in getting their book printed from delivering print ready files to editing and promotional assistance. Terry Compton, Production Manager, Troubador Publishing Ltd, added that whatever help is needed can be provided and it depended on their customer’s knowledge and requirements.

Another interesting statement, on the back of Interquest’s latest market findings, was that ebook growth declined from 69% in 2012 to 26% in 2014. Although, it was quickly pointed out, ebooks and printed books will co-exist as readers continue to choose to use the different mediums for a variety of reasons.

The findings also reported  85% of publishers now use digital printing technology for some part of the production process. This was reflected by much discussion on how the printed book can build greater market share. Ricoh Europe’s General Manager, Benoît Chatelard (pictured second left above), explained that improvements in printing technologies was the way forward with high capacity dryers aiding the use of substrates up to 250gsm running at full production speed, improved inks setting gamut and price standards and software for aiding efficient production to eliminate barriers to the effective turnaround of short runs.

Francis Atterbury, Hurtwood Press and Charlotte MacDonald, Director, Special Case Books, felt the quality of the final product was crucial in elevating the perception of digital print. For Mr Atterbury choosing the right substrate was essential in helping create the perfect result.

For Walter Castiglione, Journals Production Manager, LSWR Srl, it was the continued increase in use of colour in the short run book market that will help it grow market share. Between May 2013 and 2014 22 of the 48 new editions it produced were colour. He said: “Digital colour printing is finally stepping up to the plate and in many cases providing a more viable solution.”

Other areas of interest were publishers keen to investigate the potential for software to improve front list and back list management and printers such as John Rowell, Managing Director of Jasprint Ltd searching for ways to way to save costs, shorten run lengths and improve liquidity of assets.

As well as  a lot of discussion about what could be done to make improvements  in both print and publishing, there was much reassurance asserted that the changes being made were the right ones for the right reasons supported by the right partners. The take home sentiment was that everyone understands the need to change and the mechanics of that change and most have found the help they need but for those that haven’t there is plenty available.

The Interquest event was held near London's Trafalgar Square

The Interquest event was held near London’s Trafalgar Square

Fine out more about Ricoh’s solutions for Publishing and Book printing

 

Digital Book Printing’s Profit Turning Plot Twist

The prevalent thorny issue in production printing remains price. Most buyers still shop around for the best deal and think the lower the figure the better. All the while print service providers struggle to reduce their running costs in an effort to improve margins.

There are many sectors where this is an obvious market pressure but it is undoubtedly a crucial one in book publishing which is why it is being highlighted at the Interquest 2014  London Digital Book Printing Forum , June 24.

John Rowell, MD Jasprint Ltd

John Rowell, MD Jasprint Ltd

It is something close to the heart of Ricoh ProC901 user John Rowell, Managing Director of Tyne & Wear digital print specialists Jasprint. At the event he will highlight how business models are changing and customers are realising that spending a bit more on a book can help save money in the long run.

For example one publishing customer , The Memoir Club, had been used to producing runs of a thousand or more to obtain a cheaper,  bulk purchase, price. But then it had to find somewhere to store the books before being sold.

If they were not sold they then had to be recycled at extra time and cost. The money paid to have the books printed, amounting to tens of thousands of pounds, was tied up and subsequently written off.

The Memoir Club had not realised that via the print on demand capabilities offered by digital printing they may pay more for their books initially but these will actually cost less in the long run.

By buying books in small quantities , and only when they need them, less cash is spent  maintaining liquidity. Also the need for storage and stock control is reduced. Wastage is kept to a minimum.

This approach can be applied to all elements of commercial printing from letterheads and menus to catalogues and brochures. It also enables publishers to be more flexible and creative with book covers, designs and issue releases.

For the digital printer support of publishers’ other services, aside from book printing, can be offered to include promotional literature such as point of sale and posters.

Then there is fast-growing self-publishing market that digital printing has helped make increasingly affordable and easy to navigate.

Digital print creates a nimble, agile, service offering and  delivers the ability to differentiate on more than price.  It provides the ideal production platform to show publishers just how deftly they can manage their transformation into a more flexible and responsive book production enterprise.

Printed books still have a great story to tell

 

Digital books long v2

If you travel on trains and buses packed with commuters staring at mobile devices rather than books, or look at the high streets with very few bookshops, you might think the book publishing and printing industry was in a sorry state.  Certainly this market is in a period of transition, but there is still life left yet and in particular a massive opportunity for digitally printed books.

Predictions from Nielsen research had e-books overtaking sales of printed books in 2014, with total sales expected to rise to 47 million units. This would put total e-book sales 300,000 ahead of their print equivalents and mean that electronic books accounted for 48% of the overall fiction market. However predictions based on historic data show a more mixed picture for publishers. Sales of e-books fell for the third consecutive month in April 2013, so it appears that the days of double or even triple digit growth for the market might now be gone, with e-book sales growing by only 5% to $393.6 million in the first quarter of 2013. E-book sales look set to take just under half of the total fiction market in the UK and more than a fifth (22%) of the overall UK book market, according to recent Bowker Market Research.

How is the digital revolution affecting the printed book market?

The Publishers’ Association annual statistical digest seems to paint a different picture. The industry had a record year for sales in 2013 up 4% to £3.3bn. The physical printed book is under threat from all those Kindles, Kobos and Nooks, but reports of its demise may be premature. A total of £1.416bn was spent on paperbacks and hardbacks in the 52-week period up to 28 December, according to Nielsen BookScan data, however the total number of printed books sold dropped – falling 9.8% to 183.9 million.

Despite the overall market slump, Nielsen data showed that the average selling price of a book reached a nine-year high, rising 21p to £7.70. In some genres, notably children’s books, sales actually rose. The figures also show that the pace at which we’re switching from physical to digital books varies according to the type of title. Apparently, 26% of fiction sales are digital, whereas for non-fiction books the figure is just 5%, and for children’s titles, 3%.

Why? Well perhaps for fiction it is only the words that matter, and they can be rendered as well or better in digital form, whereas for something like a glossy cookery book or an illustrated children’s book, the physical object still delivers a much better and more practical experience.

The continued growth of the digital e-book market is in part responsible for the large drop in printed book sales. Recent consumer data figures showed more than two million UK users joined the digital book market in the first nine months of 2013. However, the Bookseller said the fall in value of the book market was also due to the slowdown in sales of EL James’s Fifty Shades novels. In 2012, the author’s trilogy sold in record-breaking numbers. At its peak, the series accounted for almost half of all novels bought in the UK. James’s sales for 2013 totaling £1.4m, compared to £47.3m in 2012, when the trilogy sold 10.5 million copies. This demonstrates how overall statistics can be misleading and how important runaway success titles are to a publishers bottom line. In the rapid shift to e-readers, publishing seems to be weathering the digital climate change better than some other media industries.

As for authors each digital sale earns them a few pennies more than the royalty from a physical book sale purchase. Still, neither publishers nor authors seem to have seen their incomes damaged significantly by either piracy or the wider digital revolution.

For bookshops the news is not so good. Independent Book Shops, continue to close as readers turn to online giants like Amazon for both physical and digital books. Meanwhile, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced it is to stop selling printed books online, they see the future online opportunity in digital products only, with physical music, books, games and films sold only in stores. Because of this trend, readers, have a wider choice, and perhaps the prospect of lower priced books.

Trends in Self-publishing are creating new printing opportunities

The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287% since 2006, with 235,625 print and e titles released in 2011, according to analysis of data from Bowker. The research found that while production increases are occurring in both print and e-book formats, the latter is driving the greatest percentage gains. It also shows that while self-publishing may seem like a cottage industry, it is dominated by large firms that offer publishing services to individual authors. According to Bowker in 2011 self-published printed books represented about 43% of that year’s total traditional print output. While print accounts for 63% of self-published books, e-books are gaining fast. E-book production in 2011 was 87,201, up 129% over 2006, compared to print, which only grew 33% in the same period.

While self-publishing is a DIY model, its infrastructure is made up of a handful of large players like CreateSpace, Lulu, Author Solutions and Smashwords. However the category for publishers who have produced 10 or fewer books accounted for 34,107 self-published titles of which only 21,256 were printed. Printed copies in this category grew by 74% between 2006 and 2012.

Self-published authors can sell their e-books on Amazon’s international sites when they use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). When authors upload those books to Amazon’s free print publishing tool, CreateSpace, Amazon will distribute the books to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it. When consumers in those countries (or in the U.S.) order a CreateSpace book, Amazon prints it on demand and the books are available for same-day shipping. Using CreateSpace is free, but an author’s royalty payment depends on factors like page count and color.

How is digital print adapting to changes in book publishing?

The ability to self-publish and digitally print on demand via web to print systems and digital storefronts has opened up a new world of opportunity to the SME commercial printer

The ability to self-publish and digitally print on demand via web to print systems and digital storefronts has opened up a new world of opportunity to the SME commercial printer. Social media platforms and viral marketing have enabled printers to find new audiences in B2B and B2C markets, allowing them to sell new services like personalised books. Linking this opportunity to new sales and marketing activities is creating big opportunities in previously untapped markets like corporate events, special interest niches, hobbies and local audiences like cat and dog shows, Women’s Institute groups and sports clubs.

For print providers the book market is expected to show the biggest gain in page share, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% between 2010 and 2015, accounting for over 45 billion pages in 2015. Due to the inventory cost and waste associated with traditional offset production for books, digital has now become a major force in publishing. If we consider the Digital Value v Volume Proposition we can see that compared to digital other traditional printing processes have become much more commoditized.

Technology Page Volume compared to digital Value compared to digital
Coldset 362 times 2.7
Heatset 42 times 5
Gravure 4 times .5
Sheetfed 2.3 times 1.7

Smithers Pira Projections to 2015 based on pages produced and value generated.

Looking at the total print area of book pages printed, we can see that 63% of the market relates to production runs of over 5,000 which will be most economically produced by offset. If we compare this to the actual number of jobs produced, we can see that 79% of jobs fall into a category of production volumes under 5,000, which is better suited to digital production. When we factor in the advantages of printing on demand, it is apparent why there is such growth potential for digital in the future.

Both Inkjet and toner digital printing have already begun to displace offset printing of books, and this change will surely accelerate. The rationale is simple. More efficient technology and comparative quality will be the drivers for rapid growth. These days it is almost impossible to tell whether a book has been printed on an offset machine or a digital one. However the main driver for change is all about economics. Estimating the demand for books, and therefore the print run required has always been a guessing game, which has meant the publishing supply chain has been exceedingly wasteful, with at least 30% of books returned to the publisher as unsold.

Publishers and authors are responding to digital printing

In the face of uncertainty, publishers are beginning to embrace digital because it enables shorter runs. Shorter runs reduce the amount of unsold books, reduce storage costs, allow reprinting in smaller batches, and offer the opportunity to print specialty books for niche markets, including self-published books. There is much confusion about how consumers want their content delivered, but digital printing offers a flexible solution to provide what the publisher needs, when they need it, where they need it, and in the quantity required. Publishers now understand the digital value proposition, and the returns that can be generated.

Digital printing technology offers publishers:

  • Risk reduction: demand is difficult to forecast, but high-speed inkjet and electrophotographic technologies enable the economical production of books in small quantities. Publishers can monitor the demand and order only what is required to eliminate warehousing and return costs.
  • Cycle time for on demand: a number of highly sophisticated on-demand printers are able to turn orders around within 24 hours. Publishers can quickly react to market demands for printed books.
  • Specialty books and fresh content: everyone has a story to tell. Digital printing eliminates the minimum quantity requirements and enables the printing of books in very low quantities. Furthermore, every page that is digitally printed can be unique.
  • Digital printing opens up creative opportunities for in-line customisation, personalisation, and real-time marketing activities such as cross-selling or promotional material inclusion.
  • Bottom line business results: by following the demand curve more closely and minimizing warehousing and returns costs, publishers can have greater inventory turnover and improved profitability.

 Digital Printers are adding value with:

  •  Fast track order management: taking a customer’s order with a print file and seamlessly processing it, this usually requires integration with the Internet for speed and 24/7 accessibility.
  •  Exponential increase in SKUs : printing digitally on demand and leveraging the long tail creates enormous volumes of low run products.
  • Real-time scheduling and customer updates: in order to provide world class customer service scheduling and information must be instant and transparent.
  • Same day assembly of components: turnaround expectations from internet purchases are on average 48 hours, which means that print production and finishing usually has to be completed within 24 hours.
  • Direct shipping to last-minute destinations : as the print provider is now dealing direct with the end user it is essential that he provides a service for packing and distribution. This is a critical area for focus as this part of the business can be more time consuming and costly than the production of the book itself.
  • Rethink:  equipment, process flow, shopfloor management, systems, performance metrics – Compared to a standard print production environment, the workflow and management systems have to be totally automated and provide real time feedback on scheduling and performance metrics.

 Summary

We are always hearing about the demise of printed books in favour of electronic copies and the sustainability arguments about print being harmful to the environment due to deforestation balanced against the negativity of energy consumption from electronic devices. Today’s reality is that consumers can now choose how they want to be communicated with and can decide on the most convenient channel and medium, which is often a combination of both hard copy and a digital file.

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

The consequence of choice and multi-channel consumption is that printed books will co-exist with their electronic counterparts for many decades to come. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the retailers, publishers and printers to make sure that books are manufactured and sold through the most environmentally sustainable supply chain possible and that is inevitably going to include, offset printing, digital printing and electronic formats.

This article was commissioned by Ricoh to bring you independent opinions from industry experts. We hope you find our guest speaker’s views interesting and stimulating. We would appreciate your feedback.

For more information see:  Ricoh-europe.com/printandbeyond