Publishers gripped by page-turning book production developments

It’s exciting times for the publishing market.  It is clear to me, from the Interquest Digital Book Forum held on Tuesday 28th in London that, when we look at the publishing market we see it is poised at the beginning of a new world of opportunities.

Benoit C participates in the vendor panel 2

Benoit Chatelard (right) discusses Ricoh’s Vision of the Future at Interquest

Over the last five years we have seen that digital book printing has become mainstream.

Publishers have been taking advantage of the digital printing to go beyond simple print on demand. They are using sophisticated virtual stock strategies and ASR (Automated Stock Replenishment) not only to reduce their inventories (and therefore their risk) but also to revive their backlist catalogues.   So it’s no surprise that, according to Interquest, 89% of print volumes in Europe are now short runs.

In fact according to one publisher at the event, “Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher.”

Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher

 

High quality colour – the next breakthrough

We are finding that publishers are now looking to use the benefits of digital printing for as much of their catalogue as possible. This means that they want higher quality for colour books – especially Scientific Journals, Children’s books and trade books. However they also want the costs as close to offset printing as possible – i.e. Inkjet costs.

This requires a level of print quality significantly better than the majority of inkjet systems installed in the marketplace.

That’s why Ricoh’s ProVC60000 colour inkjet platform has been capturing publishers’ attention. It offers superb quality colour inkjet which now make it possible to print high quality books and journals, even on offset coated stocks. Elsevier’s Johan Van Slooten states the detail and the sharpness of the inkjet samples were better, adding: “Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.”

Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.

 

Amazon-like service, worldwide

Publishers see how Amazon.com has effectively set customer expectations with fast turnaround, 24 hour delivery and rapid response.

And this is what publishers are increasingly looking for.

The larger publishers really want to achieve this worldwide – that’s why there was so much interest in local printing and in particular the distribute and print model.

 

A brave new world for book manufacturers

All in all we think this represents a significant challenge for book manufacturers. It’s no longer just about substituting offset with digital, but it’s really about how to re-invent production to take advantage of new industry 4.0 technologies and processes.

Every book printer we talk to confirms that, in this new world of short SLAs, shortening print runs and flexible business models, then automation is essential if they are to continue to be profitable.

That’s why we have launched our new Digital Book Printing Solution. Built on Open Standards such as XML, PDF and JDF, it works with many digital print technologies. It is designed to help book manufacturers produce short run books profitably and cost-effectively. Using Ricoh’s longstanding heritage in financial markets the solution can batch print jobs to make printing more efficient and track and trace work so book printers and publishers alike know exactly where each job is.

Our rapidly growing presence in the European book printing marketplace is supported by our headline grabbing technologies. They include superb quality colour inkjet which now makes it possible to print high quality books and journals  -even on offset coated stocks. Our high performance heavyweight digital toner solution is not only ideal for book covers but also for ultra-short run books.

Print production capabilities, combined with quality and seamless job delivery, enable PSPs to redefine their business approach to more effectively address a broader range of markets.

A model approach

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard Vice President, Production Printing Group, EMEA

Who said print was in decline?  According to Interquest US commercial print volumes have been increasing every year for the past five years.

In our view there is a new mood of optimism in the publishing market. Digital print technologies have enabled publishers to reduce their risks and takes out wastage .

Now it’s time for the next phase. To explore new business models –  and open new worlds in publishing.

 

 

Find out more about Ricoh’s solutions for publishing

Reflections on drupa 2016

After 11 frenetic days of meeting with our customers, listening to their needs and challenges and showcasing how our range of products, solutions and services support our clients’ needs, I want to take a moment to reflect on our drupa 2016 adventure.

Our theme for this year’s drupa, ‘Open New Worlds’ was developed to focus on the opportunities and challenges that our customers see in their sphere. What we wanted to let our visitors know was that no matter their size, sector or ambitions we can help them build from their strengths, creating more opportunities for them to grow and evolve. Welcomed in our theatre, customers, press and industry analysts enjoyed hosted tours to experience this first hand.

On the product side, we presented the latest versions of our cut sheet printers including the Ricoh Pro™ C7100 series and the Ricoh Pro™ C9100 series. In the continuous feed sector we put the spotlight on our newly enhanced Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 high speed inkjet platform. Live demonstrations of these in the Commercial Print, Direct Marketing, Publishing and Corporate zones, and in our lean manufacturing Smart Factory, highlighted the innovative applications, quality output and the broad range of services our presses offer.

Many of our clients agreed and signed on stand deals. Among the sales we celebrated were a Pro C7100 for Cicero, and Nationwide Print who chose MarcomCentral to support production on its new Pro C7100. Cicero also ordered a Pro C9110 as did Magneet Communicatiecentrum, Ecograf, Datum, Deltor, Impremta and CFH Documail – to name but a few of our clients trusting our technology to support their growth.

We were also very excited to celebrate the sales of our Pro VC60000. EDC was our first customer in Eastern Europe, while Adare ordered two lines and CFI opted to add a second. This latest addition to our portfolio is gathering market momentum, as our clients learn and embrace how its combination of productivity and high quality can help them be more cost effective and profitable.

We had a very busy industrial print zone, where we showcased the powerful opportunities offered by additive manufacturing, industrial inkjet printheads, direct to shape coding and marking as well as branding product decoration.

To add to that, we announced our entry into the vibrant signage market, by adding EFI VUTEk flatbed printers to our portfolio. The decision builds on the success of our large format portfolio of print production solutions.

There was a lot of discussion surrounding the overall theme of drupa 2016. Connectivity was a topic that ran through the show like a red thread, for all solutions and in every sector.  Many of our visitors were looking for software and services that will enable them to connect and integrate different workflow streams and production environments.

In our Studio, many visitors discovered the capabilities of our TotalFlow portfolio including TotalFlow Cloud Suite, and learned how they could improve productivity, add value and open up new opportunities.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Finally, it’s important to remember that an event like drupa is only as good as the people who make it happen. It’s been a real pleasure for us all working with colleagues to make drupa such a powerful event. We couldn’t have made it the success it was without all the hard work that people put in. Ricoh really is a company that is driven by passion and dedication, and where imagine.change is not just a brand, but an expression of the talent and commitment of our team.

 

Publishing zone at drupa

In this zone we want to show you how Ricoh’s solutions can help Open up New Worlds for you in publishing and book printing.

Not to be missed

  • real examples of books and journals from major Publishers like HarperCollins and Elsevier
  • books and book covers printed live on Ricoh’s heavy duty Ricoh Pro C9110 cutsheet press
  • Books printed live on Ricoh Colour Inkjet Pro VC60000 on offset stocks
  • Ricoh’s new Digital Book Workflow in action

Key Applications

Here are just some of the great print samples you will be able to see in the Publishing zone.

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Workflow

Ricoh’s digital book printing workflow solutions allow Book Manufacturers to adapt their processes for the new world of short run, fast turnaround books and journal printing.

Digital Book Printing Workflow

 

Ricoh at drupa button

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. 

From high volume inkjet to light production cut sheet – Ricoh’s double EDP award recognition

The EDP (European Digital Press Association) awards 2014/15 were held during FESPA last week, when many of Europe’s leading production printing journalists gathered in Cologne for this expanding event. I was delighted to be able to represent Ricoh at the awards ceremony, and to leave clutching not one but two trophies. Firstly in the ‘best production printer web-fed’ category, Ricoh’s brand new groundbreaking ProTM VC60000 took the prize. It was satisfying that the judging panel recognised the unique attributes of this innovative inkjet system, including the offset-like image quality it can produce and the flexible graphic arts oriented digital front end with advanced colour management capability. And then the Ricoh ProTM C7100X series prevailed in the ‘best production cut-sheet printer light production’ category.

Graham Moore Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

Graham Moore
Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

The judges were clearly impressed by the opportunities for print service providers opened up by the fifth station. As it’s gloss and white toner capability and multiple substrate choice are designed to transform the impact of a broad range of print applications. So it was a successful afternoon for Ricoh. But, more importantly, I hope the EDP’s acknowledgement of the market-leading prowess of these two devices means that more professional print businesses become aware of how they could spearhead their drive for productivity and profitability. And come and talk to us.