All the Rage
For Banta's Dave Schanke, customization is key to outputting end-products that suit each publisher's bottom line. It's part of a quest to marry production efficiency with high technology.
At Banta (www.banta.com), this market vice president of general publishing has a client that needs to customize covers for special projects. The publisher often prints a million books each press run with versioned imprints that may total a few hundred. Schanke says, "We have the ability to do a lot of cover changes in the course of a run. In a run of 800,000, 1,100 different changes are possible."
At Commercial Printing Company (www.commercialprinting.com), President Tommy Arledge adds, "In order to produce successful component and cover printing, you have to have a full-assortment of equipment." He suggests that a publisher shopping for a book cover printer best consult those with full-service printing and finishing capabilities in-house. "Full-service benefits publishers because it speeds-up turnaround time. It saves time and time translates into money," says Arledge.
Commercial Printing Company's Component Division is unique because three years ago, it developed a coating process called ELKote, which was issued a patent last year. "It's the ultimate in dull gloss contrast," describes Arledge. "After working with traditional matte lamination combined with spot UV-coatings, the company decided that our customers would greatly benefit from the ELKote process." In other words, alternatives to ELKote often resulted in scratched surfaces that made book covers look worn after handling. He says, "Books stored on shelves also appeared old or used with traditional dull/gloss production methods."
"Publishers love it because their books are durable and jump off the shelves," Arledge explains. "Someone's not going to pick-up books that look damaged. ELKote keeps them looking fresh and exciting."
To decrease cost, the printer buys in bulk. For instance, paper, such as metallized and cover substrates, that normally cost a small-to-mid size publisher more to purchase independently, are made available at lower prices through the printer. Arledge says that this pattern exists industry-wide. With the exception of a large publisher like McGraw-Hill that tends to negotiate its own deals for paper buying, consulting with one's printer can be the most affordable option for publishers printing covers and jackets.