Responding to the new publishing landscape

Publishers face many challenges in a rapidly evolving marketplace, but Ricoh’s new Pro VC 60000 means that long lead times on new publications need not be one of them

Ricoh VC60000 Colour Inkjet in action at Hansaprint, Finland

Ricoh VC60000 Colour Inkjet in action at Hansaprint, Finland

How things have changed. Only a few years ago people were predicting the death of the book as, e-books achieved exponential sales growth.

But two significant developments have demonstrated that the print book market remains alive and well.

Several weeks ago British high street bookseller Waterstones decided to stop selling Kindles due to “virtually no sales”, perhaps marking a watershed in the evolution of e-books. More recently, Amazon announced that it was opening a physical book store in Seattle.

So what is going on in the market—and what next for books?

Have e-books now reached their plateau?

Since the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle device, e-books have seen meteoric growth. They now account for nearly 25% of book sales in the US, and nearly 15% in the UK. However, many people that we talk to within the publishing industry believe that e-book sales have reached a plateau, especially in the US and UK. Indeed, the latest data from Nielsen shows that physical books sales actually increased, by 2% year on year.

This coincided with a decrease in e-book sales for the first time ever in the US.

But this does not necessarily mean that people have fallen out of love with e-books—rather, it indicates a wider pattern.

First, the e-book market is maturing.

The “land-grab” days are over, when e-book makers, content providers and publishers cut prices to drive market share. There has been consolidation among e-book providers.

Recent e-book price rises implemented by Amazon have made e-books less attractive as an alternative to print. “Large book publishers—including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—recently won, after a hard-fought battle, the ability to set their own prices for e-books. But now, as prices for many e-books have risen, the industry is seeing a slump in sales,” reports Nova Safo, a broadcast journalist for Marketplace.

Last but not least, printed books have proven to have an enduring appeal. Whereas there has been a wholesale shift from print to electronic in some segments—especially academic journals and novels—in other segments, demand for print remains strong, with year-on-year growth in Adult Non-Fiction (+5%), Adult Fiction (+3%), Juvenile Non-Fiction (+11%, all data from Nielsen). Perhaps this should not be such a great surprise. Electronic delivery has revolutionised the journals market and expanded the reach of scientific and medical publishing. However, there is strong demand for printed children’s books.

The new world of publishing

So the bigger picture has been that, while demand for individual books has been declining, the dynamics of the market have been changing. There has been an explosion in the number of new titles published. In fact, according to European Book Publishing statistics, in the EMEA markets, more than 500,000 new titles are now published every year.

At the same time, Amazon has set the bar high for customer service. Increasingly consumers are expecting fast delivery—of around 24 hours for a paperback, or 48 hours for hardback.

This creates a whole new business model. Publishers increasingly need to plan their business around high availability of a very large range of titles, and low stock levels to reduce their risk. Nowadays, a major publisher will typically have 80,000 plus titles available via Print on Demand.

In a way this is the same as delivering e-books: consumers can access a large catalogue and can order what they want, when they want it.

Virtual stock means print to order

This is exactly what major academic and scientific publisher Elsevier has been doing with its journals, which are literally printed to order in very small quantities using a highly efficient supply chain.

Key to this are the latest developments in digital print technology. The first wave of colour inkjet devices used by book manufacturers has helped to change the market by providing a compelling business case for short runs, produced quickly. This has already revolutionised the academic book market and some areas of mono trade books.

Now, with the launch of new colour inkjet devices such as the Ricoh Pro VC 60000, it is now feasible to print colour trade books in the same way. At our recent publishers event, held in Boulder, Colorado, we demonstrated that the Pro VC can now deliver a quality that can actually be better than offset. This opens up many new opportunities for publishers to take advantage of the compelling business case for short-run (and long-run) colour inkjet printing for books and journals that were either printed offset—or indeed, not even printed at all.

The ‘infinite print run’

These are exciting times for publishing and book manufacturing. The whole business model is changing.

For publishers this not only reduces their risk, but also opens up significant opportunities to extract more value from their content. Now it is viable to produce even high-quality, colour trade books in very small quantities—and in short lead times too. This potentially means that books can be launched to the market quicker and be kept in print indefinitely.

To find out more about Ricoh’s solutions for publishing, visit www.ricoh-europe.com/publishing

This article originally appeared in the FutureBook 2015 Conference Programme. 

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!

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

 

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

A New Publishing Vision from Ricoh at London Book Fair

Books are different from many other sectors of print because alongside their functional use they create an emotional connection.  The result is people have choice preferences from a quality hardback or a small but perfectly formed paperback to a weighty academic tome or an e-reader.

It is these personal relationships Ricoh Europe PLC will be exploring at the London Book Fair, April 8- 10, at Earls Court, London on stand R505. We will be showcasing a number of interesting applications and services aimed at helping publishers look at their markets in new ways. They are designed to enhance traditional publishing processes with numerous exciting and compelling services that deliver something extra, beyond print.

 

Bridging the online and offline worlds

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One such technology is video books – where video screens embedded in a publication link to additional relevant content. On the stand will be two video-enabled booklets in action – an instruction book to train end-users and a promotion for teaching and learning resources.

Another is interactive Clickable Paper that bridges the printed page and the online world to provide immediate one-touch access to multiple online resources such as photos, video/multimedia, web sites, e-commerce portals and social networks. It extends the value of the printed page and delivers far-reaching added value to readers, the magazine publisher and advertisers. Adoptees include Dutch Business Magazine De Zaak – it has utlilised Clickable Paper to add value to its publications – and Barnwell Print in the UK which has enhanced books with value-added multi-media content. On stand Where to Fish in Norfolk will offer a real example of this in action.

We are also developing solutions that support the demand for information to be provided across a variety of media. Open Text Book Portal is an online service that enables organisations such as universities to provide students with access to textbook content in multiple formats including print, Word documents and ebooks.

 

Custom textbooks and Digitally Printed Books

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Then there is our Custom Textbook initiative for the digital production of tailored textbooks.  For example  the US, there is a large market for customised textbooks and we expect this to become a significant growth market in Europe, particularly with opportunities such as those presented by university professors that prefer to create their own specific course materials rather than rely on predefined textbooks.

Visitors will be able to learn more about these technologies and more by viewing an unmissable 42-inch touch-screen Electronic Learning Table providing access to detailed information, documents, examples and videos.

Of course there will be book printing examples too with some created especially for the show including The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. The book is designed to be a print experience ‘like no other’ using the very latest digital printing technologies and papers.

 

So drop by and see how to start a new chapter in your publishing strategy.