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28.04.2021

Books are more accessible than ever

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Aren’t books great? Their color- and artful covers … touching their pages, in turn velvety or superbly smooth.  The fragrance, the design, or the user-interface that is as simple as it gets. Despite the convenience of tablets and e-readers, felt keenly when travelling – the properties of printed books cannot be duplicated by electronics. Even in the 21st century books continue to occupy a dominant place in most people’s minds. Research also indicates that our minds absorb information and knowledge better when reading from paper as opposed to screens. 
In the past, books were expensive and took a lot of time to get printed. That has changed. Book on-demand is easy to order, offers amazing quality, and is delivered down to copies of one. Book on-demand is making books more accessible than ever.

book on-demand

So how?

With digital print and finishing, book-on-demand is a reality. Whether you are a self-publisher, a traditional book publisher, or inventing new business models for books and other publications, digital print and finishing give you options that weren’t possible in the past.

Naturally, book on-demand still requires content, but with easier access to desktop publishing tools, writing tools, layouts and photos, books can now be created in even tiny quantities. Of course, when producing books in offset and with higher capital bindings, the publishers need to be pickier on what titles they chose to publish. With book on-demand, this changes entirely—the time-to-market, the investment, and repayment time now allow the publisher to consider more narrow titles and authors with a smaller potential audience.

Book on-demand requires a digital production setup, and today printing devices from numerous suppliers deliver stunning quality. Hunkeler is one of the leading suppliers of digital print finishing equipment, enabling high-quality finishing down to a copy of one. 

Suppose you are a printing company considering entering into this exciting market. In that case, you will experience not only opportunities impossible to take advantage of with conventional equipment but also entirely new types of customers, as well as a more comprehensive range of customers. You may choose to reach out to Hunkeler and our representatives directly, but Hunkeler also works with all the leading digital print suppliers on both toner and inkjet. Whether you are looking into monochrome or color production, there is a printing system that serves that purpose. The digital print finishing equipment from Hunkeler is reliable, durable and easy to operate. Perhaps most importantly you can use Hunkeler equipment in conjunction with with equipment from competitors to ensure the best fit for your production.

Hunkeler book on-demand production

New Business Models for Book on-Demand businesses

Before book on-demand was possible, books were typically printed in higher volume. The business models were typical that the author signed an agreement with a publisher, who took on the task (and risk) to design, print, stock and distribute the books to the book stores. This business model is still widely used but becoming less and less important.  With book on-demand, new business models offer the printed book a very promising renaissance.

Not only is it now possible to print back-catalogs profitable, but as already mentioned, smaller and more narrow titles are now feasible to print as well.

With book on-demand, publishers don’t have to print large volumes to keep the cost per copy low. Consequently, the publishers avoid warehousing and additional transportation cost – as important for profit as for the environment.

Book on-demand printing companies deliver new and unique solutions, making some photo books “free”, for instance. The customer pays only for the shipping. Of course, the shipping cost covers both print and delivery. Still, with express deliveries, up-sale of better paper, and enhancement as add-on service, this is just an example of how creative book on-demand production can be.

Book on-demand and digital print enable you to personalize not only photobooks but also school books, printed manuals, etc. You print only the content you need instead of full books, if the full book is not needed.

book store

Quality and versatility

In the past years, the quality of digital print output has become so good that digital technology products often exceed what’s possible with offset print. This opens up even more business opportunities, and the printing industry is beginning to see the advantages of going fully digital. 

Book on-demand requires digital printing, and it’s sometimes difficult to imagine how fast the technology has developed. Not many years ago, the technical quality limited the presses to mainly transactional print. Today, the latest technology can easily produce photobooks, lifestyle magazines, and art books digitally. Hunkeler delivers the technology enabling stitching, perfect bound, and even interfaces to equipment for section-sewn book blocks – all to serve an ever-increasing demand for book on-demand.

Industry leaders predict a paradigm shift where high-quality, fast inkjet presses now replace offset machines. This doesn’t mean that offset printing machines are obsolete but illustrates how new technology serves the customer requirements even better!

photobook book on-demand

What do customers want?

Most people – both businesses and consumers – want fast delivery times. With book on-demand printing, printing companies can now offer quick turn-around times. With offset production, setup time is fast, print is fast, even binding is fast, but you will need volume to get reasonable prices per book. With book on-demand, digital print, and digital print finishing, everybody wins. Fast setup (there is literally no setup time), fast print, stunning quality, and all delivered in whatever quantity needed. 

With the latest digital print finishing equipment, the production line can produce book after book with variable formats and spine-sizes … in the true spirit of book on-demand …. delivering what customers want!

family reads book

Considerations of book on-demand

How do you think the market will develop in the future? We believe that book on-demand is here to stay, and there seem to be no signs of that changing back to previous business models! Publishers and printers, therefore, will have to consider how customer-demand in the future will be served best. 

If you agree that customers will continue to demand faster deliveries and digital flexibility, the time is right for investment. Many printing companies operate digital and analog side by side successfully and even combine the advantages of both production methods seamlessly.

Hunkeler and representatives will be happy to give you insights into what’s possible, both technically and business-wise.

Reach out!

Hunkeler book on-demand solution

About the author

Portrait Morten Reitloft

Morten B. Reitoft

Morten Reitoft is the editor of INKISH News and INKISH TV. INKISH TV is a TV-channel for and about the print industry. 
Through his numerous posts and videos around the printing industry, Morten has a broad expertise in digital printing and knows both the companies and technologies behind them.


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