Ready to Print
February 1, 2007

Amazon bolstered its print-on-demand (POD) book division and consequently put the rest of the industry on notice that retail distribution is continuing to change, after it made a significant push to add new digital color presses to its operations. The leading online retailer would not publicly disclose the number of Hewlett-Packard (HP) presses that it purchased or the price paid, but said several HP Indigo presses and production manager controllers were installed and put into operation in a number of the company’s fulfillment centers, when the announcement was officially made in December 2006. Never Out of Stock The move is an effort to fulfill

Transcontinental Posts Fourth-Quarter Profit
December 15, 2006

A favorable tax adjustment helped Transcontinental, one of North America’s largest printers, post higher-than-expected profits this week. The Montreal-based company reported its fourth-quarter profits rose 16 percent to C$51.6 million ($44.5 million U.S.) because of the positive impact of a C$15.1-million “unusual favorable” income tax adjustment. Revenue for the company was C$583.1 million for its fourth quarter, down slightly from C$539.9 posted for the same quarter a year before. For the overall fiscal year 2006, Transcontinental’s revenue was flat at $2.19 billion. “Our results for fiscal 2006 are in line with our annual objective,” said Luc Desjardins, president and chief executive officer of Transcontinental. “We executed strongly, controlling

The Ongoing Challenges of Transitioning to Multimedia
November 1, 2006

It’s been a whirlwind of an autumn. Between traveling to the Frankfurt Book Fair, heading out to Chicago for our annual Gold Ink Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet, and relaunching our Web site, there’s been a lot going on. A highlight for me, however, was Book Business’ first-ever live webcast, called “Expand Your Brand: Webinars for Publishers.” We broadcast on Oct. 19, and had a great panel of speakers lined up. The potential for webcasts seems to be enormous for both book and magazine publishers, and the experience of holding a webcast of our own shed a whole new light on the process for

Gold Ink Winners, Hall of Famers Honored at Banquet in Chicago
November 1, 2006

Hundreds of industry executives turned out Oct. 16 to honor North America’s finest print production projects at the 19th Annual Gold Ink Awards Banquet in Chicago. Attendees also witnessed the induction of four new members into the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame, including David Pelkey, Merriam-Webster Inc.’s director of manufacturing and a 21-year veteran of the graphic arts industry. More than 1,500 pieces were entered into 45 different categories for the 2006 Gold Ink Awards, and the gala—held during October’s Graph Expo at McCormick Place—recognized the winners for their achievements during a cocktail hour and dinner. Each of the Hall of Fame inductees

Communications Works for Those Who Work At It
October 1, 2006

We’ve printed books locally, in Canada, and overseas. We’ve dealt with printing companies who couldn’t get much beyond the pre-press process and others that couldn’t manage shipping the final product. We’ve had companies use our projects to train their staff without our knowledge. We’ve had finished books held up in customs for months, sitting tantalizingly at a dock less than a day’s drive away. How, as a publisher, can you know what to expect from your printer? I’ve learned the hard way that, at least in the book printing business, size doesn’t matter. We’ve been burned by one of the 10 largest printers in the

The Definition of Success
October 1, 2006

Merriam-Webster is a household name when it comes to dictionaries. In fact, its dictionary is said to be the second best-selling hardcover book in American history next to the Bible. So it might be surprising to find out that behind this book is a manufacturing department of just one: David Pelkey. Pelkey, Merriam-Webster’s director of manufacturing, oversees the manufacturing of all printed materials for the company. “I do all of the paper purchasing, warehousing and inventory management, and I also have a hand in distribution,” he says. Pelkey’s name may not be as well-known as the dictionary he helps produce, but this year, after

Courier Upgrades Press in Effort to Improve Production
August 25, 2006

A significant upgrade to one of Courier’s six manufacturing plants is expected to help the fifth-largest book manufacturer and specialty publisher in the North America improve the production and print quality of millions of books. The company announced this week that it has added a EPG (Essex Products Group) KeyColor C remote ink control system to its Westford, Mass. plant. The installation, part of a larger press overhaul at the short-run plant, will enable Courier to reduce makeready time and waste by accurately presetting the ink fountain keys. “As one of Courier Corporation’s short-run book plants, it is imperative that we have the tools necessary

Danger Lurks Offshore for American Printers
August 1, 2006

Chuck Nason admits he wasn’t fully prepared for the effects of global competition as it accelerated in 2001. The president and CEO of Worzalla Publishing, a Stevens Point, Wis.-based book manufacturer, watched as a significant portion of the company’s four-color children’s book work went to China. “Global competition has affected us in a major way,” Nason contends. “It caused us to suffer a five-year slide in annual sales from just over $62 million to $44.4 million a year ago. This has meant little or no wage increases for our employees and a freeze on capital equipment purchases for four years.” Nason points out what

New Technology Eliminates Need of Lamination for Covers, Dust Jackets
July 28, 2006

A new breakthrough in dust jacket material, introduced to the market earlier this month, could wind up saving publishers time and money by helping to bypass the need to add a protective laminate during production. Visual Systems Inc. (VSI), a Milwaukee-based book component manufacturer, introduced the innovative new plastic material to the market in early July. The company says the product--called BaseOneone that omits part of the production process resulting in approximately 20 percent savings for educational publishers. On the trade side of things, VSI says there is a 2 to 5 percent savings from eliminating the laminating step and the extra time and materials

Espresso Book Machine Brews Visions of New Distribution Model
July 28, 2006

With the push of a few buttons and a swipe of a credit or debit card, customers at the World Bank InfoShop bookstore in Washington have become among the first to use one of the first viable print on demand services since the Espresso Book Machine, a commercial book-making device, was first installed in April. With the three-month test run of On-Demand Books’ machine wrapping up earlier this month, its success leaves the question of whether the current distribution model may get turned over on its head if the concept takes off. By not only printing, but then binding the book on-demand, the $100,000-plus machine