SHORT-RUN BOOKS - Book of One
Additionally, Clockel says the strategy of shorter print runs and the efficiencies of digital printing engines have been stymied until now because of the typically long makereadies and highly skilled labor required to produce a product acceptable to the publishing community. With more digital shops popping up to serve the growing demand for international distribution, Clockel adds, equipment is being designed with mobility in mind. One of the distinctive characteristics of new-generation digital printing and binding machines is their portability and smaller size.
As more book manufacturers get into digital short-run printing, the demand for quicker makeready and increased throughput will increase, and more systems—particularly in-line—will be built with that focus in mind, notes Jeff Vierkant, general manager of the Dubuque, IA-based Quebecor World Digital Custom Demand facility. Acknowledging that there is a continuing challenge with in-line finishing, Vierkant believes that front- and back-end manufacturers will work closely in the future to design equipment that will marry digital print engines and in-line bindery equipment, in order to speed up the process from digital file to bound book.
However, Vierkant points out that faster, more efficient equipment is just one of the developments impacting today's digital bookbinding market. Another significant trend involves the binding itself.
"Soft cover plastic coil binding has increased 155 percent in the past year, while soft cover adhesive and soft cover wire spiral have remained flat," he declares. "Plastic coil gives more color options, plus it's a more durable bind than wire because it doesn't get bound or kinked during shipment."
And when books are being shipped in quantities of one to Internet end users who are paying top dollar for book products, those products better arrive with quality intact and in lightning speed.
A digitized printing/binding process enables publishers to meet this ever-growing need for speed. And depending on the publisher (and the type of print job that is required), leading book manufacturers are integrating digital printing/binding into their business models in different ways, each business model working differently to serve the publisher's specific needs.