Roll over offsetOffset printing is time consuming to set up and so is best suited for large print runs. Publishers estimate the number of books to be printed and then hold stocks of books so they can respond quickly to customer demand. This incurs warehousing and distribution costs, and there is the risk of overstocking. Unsold books mean additional transporting and pulping costs.
Adding value throughout the chainEfficiency gains and waste reduction is only the start of the story though. “Our end-customer is the reader of a book,” states Huigen. “We are part of a value chain that starts with the author and ends with the reader. Our technology enables book publishers and printers to add value for readers.”
Books are getting smartHuigen also sees other new opportunities in the world of digitalisation for books. “Reading can be interactive. You can scan a QR code in a book with your smart phone and open a video or music file for example. This opens up a variety of applications,” he continues. “Reading a novel can be a multimedia experience,” he says. Educational books are another example. “Basic theories in many subjects do not change much over time, so a book could present the basic material and then have QR codes which link to a video or some other file that presents the latest developments in that field,” he explains. “These files can be updated at any time, so the same QR code always leads to up-to-date examples.”
The ebook challenge?
Huigen comes back to ebooks. “Ebooks’ market share in Europe has remained fairly constant at about 10 per cent. Many people saw ebooks as a threat, but in fact people often prefer to read a book rather than a screen, so there is still ample space in the market for printed books,” he says. “In fact, at Canon we are not too concerned when an ebook edition is published as this reduces the demand for the printed book and makes inkjet printing a competitive printing option instead of offset.”
- Frank Huigen