Digital Paper Pitfalls
Those leveraging BOD technology on short runs today are building experience with, and best practices around, the unique workflows that drive BOD projects.
But the typical BOD publisher is also smaller, and is producing smaller runs, according to the paper vendors interviewed by Booktech. BOD publishers are looking for the most economical papers—and that means they're buying from brokers.
As with offset papers, digital papers are offered in a variety of weights. This allows publishers to control cost by matching opacity, sensory properties, and durability to the project at hand.
For an on-demand book with an expected short shelf life, many publishers reap substantial savings by using digital paper that is low-grade bond paper in the 20-lb. weight range.
For high-end books or marketing communications titles (such as annual reports), cheap paper won't do, and publishers are going with 60-lb. text paper or higher weights.
Traditional book printers, 'speedy' printers, and commercial printers are getting in on the BOD action, offering BOD-related services as a way to grow revenues in an otherwise flat market.
As digital presses, binders, and other machinery used in BOD projects improve in areas such as speed, capacity, color range and accuracy, image quality, materials options, and reliability, larger and larger print runs will inevitably be printed on demand.
When that happens, forward-thinking mills such as Mohawk will be ready. Until then, BOD is still, essentially, a new approach to book manufacturing.
One arena where BOD is catching on is custom publishing. The high price of college textbooks coupled with the ease and low cost of producing books-on-demand is turning educators into publishers.
They're building custom textbooks by reusing, repackaging, and reorganizing existing content; or even writing their own new titles from scratch.
But perhaps the leading books-on-demand application is the keep-in-print product, where printers are digitally producing short runs for publishers who need to keep a slow-selling title in print.