Even though embossing and foil represent a significant revenue stream for Lehigh, Roberts believes cost advantages will ultimately move UV to the forefront. New effects, such as suspending glitter and color into the process, will further accelerate UV's desirability as a splashy cover treatment, he says.
"The upshot of UV compared to embossing is, you don't undermine the real estate on the other side with debossing," Roberts says.
Other printers agree. Milwaukee-based Visual Systems Inc. is also producing UV-enhanced covers. The company just acquired a new Heidelberg press with an integrated UV option. Company officials declined to name the specific model they were using, but Heidelberg's Speedmaster CD 74 is a recent model that integrates a UV option.
DOING MORE WITH COLOR
Both Lehigh Press and Visual Systems are also producing six-color high-fidelity (hi-fi) effects. In fact, the six-color process is the most cost-effective way to juice up a book's cover, says Burg of Visual Systems.
"Publishers went gung-ho with embossing or foils," Burg says. "While they still want the high-end presentation, they don't want to spend the extra 50% to 100%. Six-color is closer to the 25% to 50% [premium] they're looking for."
Lush, six-color covers have time-to-market advantages over other eye-catching methods. The added oomph takes the same amount of time as four color, even though the manufacturing process is dramatically different, Burg says.
Six-color requires RGB color specification for input, because it has a larger range of colors than CMYK can deliver. Two more color channels are then added.
For example, Lehigh Press adds orange and green. The resulting CMYKOG pigment scheme delivers a more dynamic range. Other colors can also be used.
A leading school publisher is using Lehigh's CMYKOG six-color process for many of their book covers. (The publisher confirmed the design value of going with Lehigh's CMYKOG process in an interview, but later requested anonymity, citing competitive concerns.)