Cambridge University Press Starts Digital Production
Press release from the issuing company
World’s oldest book printer implements new way of printing
Birmingham, April 9, 2002 - Cambridge University Press has today announced a long-term strategic partnership with global digital printing company Oce for state-of-the-art technology that will become the reference point for digital book production throughout the world. The agenda-setting deal – worth more than £1million in the first phase – involves creating a new production unit in Cambridge that will revolutionise the way books are printed and ensure that important academic monograph texts can be published cost effectively.
Previously, publishers have been cautious about going down the “digital” route for full-scale book production because of concerns that the print qual-ity was not of a sufficiently high standard. But Oce’s renowned ability to produce high-quality short-run books that look virtually identical – some think even better – than traditional litho-produced titles was key to the agreement.
Exceptionally high quality and a cost-effective price were also major factors for Cambridge University Press’s decision to forge a long-term partnership with Oce.
Print runs from 10 books upwards will be undertaken through the new production unit called Cambridge Digital by Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest printing company and leading academic publisher, thanks to advanced technology and software developed by Oce.
In addition, high-capacity scanners will be used to convert conventionally printed books, some more than a century old, to digital format in a cost-effective way and to a very high standard. And advanced technology developed by Oce, called Bookstore, is also being used for the first time in the UK. This clever software, which was pivotal to Oce securing the deal, automates the digital workflow and keeps down costs.
David Royal, business director for book production at Cambridge University Press, said: “We are very excited by this development, which will be a major step forward for publishers who, in the past, have been slow to take up on this technology. Until now the quality of digitally printed text has limited the market for short-run book production to bringing out-of-stock books back into the public domain, but now Oce’s leading-edge technology has provided the required solution for Cambridge University Press.”
“It means we can continue to cost effectively produce important academic texts, and changes can be easily made to books when new editions are needed.” He added: “The quality was a key component, particularly when you are selling to academics. Oce have helped us overcome resistance to digital by providing a product that is as close to litho as it gets. Indeed, the quality has improved to such an extent that publishers can frequently no longer tell the difference when viewing the text.”
Rod Willett, Cambridge University Press’s printing operations director, said: “We had stringent criteria for all the companies initially in the running for this contract, which included the creation of test files and evaluation of the results. It was our opinion that Oce’s solution would be the best for Cambridge University Press and we are looking forward to the start of live production next month.”
Future developments will involve pushing the quality boundaries even further forward to embrace quality halftone content. “Our confidence in Oce and the technology partnership is an important statement,” said Mr Willett. “We are confident of extending the range of books cost-effectively produced by this method.”
Simon Wheeler, director of Oce (UK) Production Printing Systems, said: “This is the launch-pad for digital book production. As the world’s oldest printing company, Cambridge University Press now has the world’s most advanced digital technology for book production. Its decision will set the agenda for a number of other organisations, which till now have been unsure that it was the right step to take.”
He added: “It is not just about today’s technology. This is a major step forward in terms of book production and the partnership means that we will always be able to provide Cambridge University Press with the latest levels of Oce technology in the future.”
Apart from the quality aspect for publishers, critical to the deal was Cambridge University Press’s need for a long-term technology partner who could provide a cost-effective book production system. “The contract is structured initially for five years,” said Mr Wheeler, “and we see that as the first step towards fulfilling the long-term needs of Cambridge University Press.”
Books will be printed on Oce’s Demandstream 8090 system with integrated paper handling equipment in the new purpose-built premises of Cambridge Digital, as part of Cambridge University Press’s £2million investment. When successful, the unit will be replicated in several Cambridge University Press’s publishing and distribution centres around the world.
About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press, which sells books in over 200 countries, employs a total of 1,100 staff worldwide, of whom 850 are based in Cambridge.
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