Switching to a new ICG/Holliston cotton-polyester blend has helped Bound to Stay Bound Books take advantage of more and different inks. It wears just as well, plus the company can apply a top-coat, and then use offset to print on it.
Compare that to traditional burlap-like cloth covers, where ink contracts during drying. That causes pin-sized gaps in the color, where warp and weft leave depressions in the cover material—a problem that doesn't vex the new ICG/Holliston blend.
Animation, texture, dynamic color, and other visual effects command attention. They can also send a message about the value of the content between the covers.
"The cover expresses the book's value," says Christian Webel, marketing manager for General Binding Corp. (GBC), in Addison, Ill. "That's true for coffee table books, gardening titles, home-improvement books, children's books."
A film and coatings provider, GBC is as distant from the consumer and institutional book buyer on the supply chain as a vendor can get. Yet GBC and Webel are passionately following customer research and trends.
"Many buyers perceive low-reflective, matte finishes as having a higher value," Webel says. "When people are buying a book for gift giving, they look for high perceived value. Matte delivers that perception."
Historically, matte finishes were susceptible to scuffing, especially during shipment. That torpedoes the book's perceived quality, because a scuffed matte cover makes a book appear old and worn.
GBC is attacking this problem with a new scuff-resistant film, dubbed Scuff-Resistant Matte OPP which, Webel says, wears better. "It has a very, very flat matte finish, and doesn't scuff," she says.
The new product costs about 50% more per roll. Overall manufacturing costs are equivalent, though, because the new film can be run faster, and there's less spoilage during manufacturing and shipping.