Digital Paper Pitfalls
The bulk of Lightning Source's work includes university press, religious books, and big trade books; however, Best expects his shop to be printing Tom Clancy and many other best-selling bylines—that is, once they're 10 years old, part of a backlist printed on demand.
HOT PROBLEM, COOL SOLUTION
One problem that's challenged digital press makers and printers is heat: the faster a digital press is operating, the hotter its internal temperatures.
This can, at a minimum, degrade the quality of the finished product or, at worst, cause paper jams and downtime, according to printers with BOD experience.
After experiencing problems with paper overheating, engineers at Lightning Source created their own method for reducing paper heat.
The company recently patented a moisture-stabilization technology, and is now using the as-yet unnamed technology internally.
It works like this: paper that's passed through the heated printers emerges hot and dry. It's rolled through sponges, which rehydrates the paper, yet without smearing the ink.
By containing the adverse effects of heat, Lightning Source can push its IBM Infoprint presses to the limit, boosting production capacity.
Keeping costs down and quality up is also the goal at on-demand book printer Berryville Graphics Inc., Berryville, Va. Officials there say 50% of their work is a 'one print run'—that's one book at a time.
They also print many two to five unit orders on demand. The pioneering shop (they've been printing books-on-demand for three years) has found a nice market printing self-published titles.
For these low-budget jobs, book publishers can have any paper they like—as long as it's 50-lb. cream-colored offset paper, purchased from a paper broker.
"In an ultra-low run, or quantity one, you have to have standardized material," says John McClurken, print-on-demand manager for Berryville Graphics.