At the 2012 Publishing Business Conference earlier this week, Webcom revealed a new report about the performance of their BookFWD program launched over a year ago, taking a detailed look at the results experienced by customers. The performance report, distributed to guests of Webcom’s Digital Dance reception that included publishers and industry experts, analyzed not only the impact of BookFWD on customers but also the dramatic evolution of digital inkjet printing in recent years.
“Our investment strategies have been aligned to rapid changes in publishers’ business issues and opportunities as well as to the recent and dramatic technological changes that effect how books are distributed and manufactured. Webcom is on the threshold of completing a $20 million 18-month investment plan that will extend digital inkjet capacity to 2 billion pages annually by the end of March,” says Mike Collinge, President & CEO, Webcom Inc.
The performance report examined the paradigm shift of modern digital printing and the key successes involved in its transition to a state of greater functionality and appeal to publishers, outlining the ways in which previous restrictions have been overcome as digital inkjet technology has improved. Publishers interested in digital printing, now have complete flexibility with use of four-color, paper options, run size efficiency and binding, as well as assurances of the overall print quality. The successes of both the hardware and software behind BookFWD has proven that the limitations of digital print are a thing of the past. Going forward, not only is inkjet offset-equivalent in quality, practicality, and economic efficiency, it stands to offer publishers an opportunity to tailor their production program for improved profitability.
“Webcom has never been better positioned to discuss new solutions with our customers,” Mike Collinge went on to say. “Based on the results of early adopters, our BookFWD program is not only a paradigm shifting model that challenges a traditional approach to book production, it is one than can now offer the confidence of proven success.”
Further outlined in the report is the degree to which Webcom customers have benefited from adopting BookFWD. Because the model is designed to be forward-thinking and to develop a strategic plan in a manner that considers multiple production scenarios ahead of time, its three sub-models are tailored to approach a variety of publishers’ individual and unique needs. Webcom has found that customers with the most success have used a combination of the sub-models, and that the greatest benefit has ultimately been reported in those customers that have fully embraced BookFWD as opposed to those who have only partially integrated it.
Contained in the report were statistics demonstrating the impact BookFWD has had on number of projects and average order quantity using examples from trade and educational publishers. Both demonstrated an increase in number of projects, especially in the case of the educational publisher, which saw a 240% increase in number of titles produced, demonstrating the potential for increased customization of titles to respond to the burgeoning demand for custom publishing. Both the trade and educational publisher examples applied similar reduction in order quantities of almost 30%. Accommodated by simplified BookFWD pricing, both publishers had the advantage of being able to target actual demand with a print-to-order strategy to minimize carrying costs and risk of obsolescence.
“Webcom’s BookFWD program has demonstrated time after time that it defies standard expectations about per-unit costs for smaller run sizes. Price security is one of the key advantages to publishers using the program – and one of the ones that most surprises them,” says Gerry Cronin, Digital Products Manager at Webcom.
Boris Hughes, Business Development Manager of Indigo and Inkjet Press Solutions at Hewlett Packard, also attended the reception and spoke to attendees not only about proven successes with digital technology but also about its increasing potential and capacity. As partial sponsor of the event and Webcom’s key supplier of the digital technology that forms the core of the BookFWD program, HP had much to say about the break-neck pace of evolution in digital inkjet technology as innovations and investments strive towards higher and higher goals.
The central message of HP’s presentation emphasized their accomplishments in throughput, capacity, and quality, looking at the recent breakthroughs in higher press speed, expanded durability on coated paper, and more competitive quality of printing in comparison with offset printing solutions. Their state of the art technology for color inkjet printing, the T350, has already been installed in the Webcom production plant, and the launch of its contribution to the BookFWD program is imminent.
Also joining the Webcom presenters at the Digital Dance Reception that night was Paul Bradshaw, Senior Vice President of Publishing Papers at Appleton Coated LLC, an approved HP partner. Bradshaw’s message on behalf of Appleton was one of digital inkjet as a big future growth opportunity. Having been a leader in this market since day one, Appleton has been dedicated not only to providing paper lines for digital printing but to working collaboratively with HP and Webcom in the testing and rollout of new grades of paper.
The reception served as a platform for the announcement of their new Utopia Inkjet Gloss paper, a paper grade developed with HP’s ColorPRO Technology to allow for digital inkjet printing with glossy, heavy stock. This paper grade has been tested and proven on Webcom’s digital inkjet production lines to great success, and Webcom distributed samples of books that had already been printed on Utopia 80lb and 100lb stocks. The paper grade promises to open up digital printing to a variety of new markets, including specialty trade books, children’s books, and other publications that benefit from the aesthetic appeal of a thick, bright, glossy page.