By Patty de Jong, Xerox Corporation

Earlier this month, book publishers gathered in Verona, Italy for an event hosted by Xerox.

You might recognize this beautiful historical city as the location where Romeo and Juliette first met. They fell in love passionately and, well, you know the rest. Shakespeare wrote his version of this true story and it is regularly played in the Arena of Verona.

Of course, if you are not in Verona at the right time of year, you could always read the book.

Next to great love stories there are many kinds of books. Children stories, photo books, thrillers, study books, manuals, novels, and many more. Most pages are printed through offset processes but digitally printed books are gaining market share.

To Print (On Demand) or Not to Print, That is the Question…

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For the reader, of course, it doesn’t matter how the book is printed. All they care about is easy access to the books they want. But what if that book is out of sale? Is it possible for only one copy of the desired book to be printed? With digitally printed books, the answer is ‘yes’, you could produce only the one book your customer needs.

In Verona, book publishers in Europe and Russia came together to visit a large book publisher company named L.E.G.O. They’ve been in existence since 1900 and have printed digitally since the end of the 1990’s. About eight years ago, they began working with Xerox printers (two Xerox Impika Inkjet Presses and a Xerox iGen Press) with a Web-to-print workflow and Xerox FreeFlow Core helping to automate the production.

Dr. Giulio Olivotto, the owner of L.E.G.O., welcomed all the visitors to his production plant. He made it possible to see all aspects of the book printing and finishing. L.E.G.O. is quite unique in that books are finished using a Smyth sewn binding process rather than glue. With this method, books are stronger and have a longer lifetime. This is one example of how L.E.G.O. focuses on the high-end production of quality books, as Mr. Olivotto explained in front of attendees.

Automation in Action

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The session also entailed different industry speakers, including consultant Stéphane Montouchet, who showed publisher trends and their impact on book printers. Sean Smith of Smithers Pira looked at different opportunities and advantages for publishers. In addition to Mr. Olivotto, other book printers showcased their steps towards digital printing of books and how it increased their market share and profitability. Among them were Matthew Baldwin of PWC (ex CPI, United Kingdom) and Boris Makarenkov (T8, Russia).

The process of order automation up to the finished book was highlighted by the partners for the event: Hunkeler, Meccanotecnica, D&K, Antalis and CP Bourg. They showcased how their technology can create automated production workflows with as few touch points as possible. As a bonus, event attendees got a glimpse into new developments which will be on display at drupa.

From Rivers to Mountains

Frans van Hellemont and Massimo Dentone of Xerox discussed the workflow and the inkjet strategy, and why we bring mountains to Dusseldorf (yes, you know Dusseldorf as having the scenic Rhine river, but this drupa is all about the mountains…Trivor and Brenva).

Once again, a very special thanks to all the participants, speakers, and sponsors – especially host L.E.G.O. – for gathering in Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet, to celebrate an unwavering passion and commitment to taking the publishing industry to new heights.