The Need For Speed
As a response to the growing short-run trend, Courier acquired Book-mart Press in 1997, "exponentially expanding our short-run book manufacturing capability," says Tobin.
Though best known as a cover and jacket and components manufacturer, Phoenix Color will take on books' inside pages, too, with the opening of a plant in Rockaway, NJ, this month. Another book manufacturing plant will open at Hagerstown, MD, in late 1999.
The company is also closing on a site in Lebanon, IN, near Donnelley's Crawfordsville, IN, plant. The location of this forthcoming plant--and existing plants--is integral to Phoenix's goal of providing same-day service to customers, says Louis LaSorsa, chairman and CEO.
To provide fast turnaround affordably, says LaSorsa, maximum plant automation is essential. Thus Phoenix is emphasizing CTP workflows and as much in-line work as possible. Phoenix also uses its own trucks, does its own paper sheeting, and connects its own sites and many customers via its ColorNet network, which includes delivery of remote proofs at customer sites. Two plants operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
As a yearbook publisher, Taylor Publishing became a short-run specialist long before short-run became cool. "Our average run is 500 sheets," says Scott Latham, vice president of human resources.
The books are printed on sheetfed presses; a move to digital xerographic is unlikely, though the company is always watching developments in this field. The short runs have the effect of making Taylor's in-house composition a critical operational hub: "We have quotas that are unbelievable," says Latham.
Students' pages, created on a variety of platforms, are ever more complex; some are handling their own scanning, Latham reports. Taylor also offers students use of its own proprietary software optimized for creating yearbook pages. The company is currently experimenting with sending a few schools PDF proofs over the Internet and allowing them to mark up corrections electronically, too.