Edwards Brothers Malloy Acquires Ricoh Infoprint 5000 Inkjet Press

Ann Arbor, MI (October 22, 2013)—Edwards Brothers Malloy announced that it has acquired a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 continuous form inkjet press for its Ann Arbor, Michigan digital print center. The press will be installed in October, with full production planned for November. Capable of running one to four color text, the press promises significant speed and price advantages over traditional short run offset and digital toner printing.

We’re very pleased to be able to offer customers another option for short-run printing,” said John Edwards, President and CEO of Edwards Brothers Malloy. “It really is a versatile piece of equipment. We can now fill a niche for higher run, faster manufacturing with quality that rivals our premium toner printers and offset sheetfed presses. It’s ideal for random and full four-color printing.

The press will handle print runs ranging from 1-1,500 copies and page counts up to 1,100-1,200 pages, depending on paper bulk. A variety of paper options, including coated stock, and softcover and hardcover bind styles will also be offered.

Edwards noted that the company has invested significantly in its digital manufacturing operation in the last year, adding new staff and upgrading its existing fleet with the installation of new Océ, Konica Minolta, and HP presses as well as new case-making, bindery, trimmer, and lamination equipment. The company also expanded its Print Local℠ service to its Oxnard, California print center and took over an in-house digital print center for Pearson. The moves are part of a multi-year plan to cement the company’s lead in short-run book and journal manufacturing.

About Edwards Brothers Malloy, Inc.:

Established in 1893, Edwards Brothers Malloy is the 5th largest book and journal manufacturer in the United States with over $100 million in annual sales. The company runs one of the largest digital print operations in North America with 8 locations in the U.S. and another in the U.K. Edwards Brothers Malloy also offers fulfillment services in the U.S. as well as global printing and distribution through its gps Global Print Solutions partnership, giving publishers a single print supply chain solution. Combined, its offset and digital printing platforms provide a Life of Title® solution for helping publishers maximize revenues and profits on the life of every title. For more information, visit our web site at www.edwardsbrothersmalloy.com.

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Trends Influencing the Printing and Publishing Industry

It’s easy to look at ebooks as the reason why printing and publishing are changing so drastically.  Of course that is a primary trend but there are also other forces at work.  Consumers are buying both print and digital books in different ways.  Independent content creators and writers are gaining a competitive advantage and publishers are constantly looking for new ways to navigate a changing market.  In the course of our business, we see trends that are shaping the future of the printed book.

inventory managementInventory Management Approaches are Changing

Several factors including the rise of ebooks and the competitive advantage of smaller or self-publishers has caused strain on the publishing industry.  The margin for error has shrunk and publishers can no longer afford to print books that don’t sell.  It used to be that they could increase run lengths to get cheaper per-unit prices but now the cost of managing inventory that doesn’t sell has threatened the traditional business model.

One way or another, publishers have become leaner and meaner.  Books manufactured on digital equipment have increased in quality over the years and now print-on-demand and short run printing models have become very popular.  Combine these speedy manufacturing models with expedited schedules and publishers no longer have to worry about precision demand forecasting.  If they don’t print enough, they can get more books to market quickly.

ibooks epub3The Proliferation eBooks

There is evidence that ebooks are beginning to plateau but they are still making gains in market share over print books.  The important thing to look at here is where will print books find their place in a world of digital readers and the internet?  We’ve seen this before when new technology moves in to supplant other forms of technology that have been around for a while.

For example radio was the dominant means by which millions of people got their news, entertainment and other information.  When television came along and become more affordable, there were worries that radio would cease to exist.  While radio is no longer the dominant means by which we are entertained or informed, it does still have a very strong niche market.

RadioIn other words, it has found a place for itself among a world of more advanced media.  It has even reinvented itself in some cases with the advent of services like iHeart Radio that enable stations to reach listeners well outside of their traditional local reach.  The same phenomenon will happen with books.  Yes the market for printed books will shrink and perhaps continue to shrink more than it has now but it will never completely disappear.

Recently our own John Edwards spoke at the 2013 Interquest Digital Printing in Publishing forum.  Gilles Biscos (President of Interquest Ltd.) offered some statistics on ebook consumption and reading habits of consumers in general.

  • In 1978, 7% of people did not read books.  Today that number has climbed to 25%
  • A third of people have a reading device
  • Ebook sales in general are up 44% in the last 12 months
  • 23% of those surveyed have read an ebook in the last 12 months
  • 56% of iPad users do not use their devices for reading books
  • 25% of kindle users do not use them for reading books.

Those final two tid-bits are very interesting.  Tech companies just aren’t seeing the enthusiasm for their products when they can only do one thing.  When Amazon’s kindle hit the scene, it started to lose its luster to devices that could surf the web, take images and video, run powerful applications and games and do pretty much anything else a laptop computer could do.

John Edwards speaks at the 2013 Interquest Digital Printing in Publishing Forum

Direct Publishing Platforms

With each passing month it seems to get easier for authors to publish their work in a digital form.  Kindle Direct Publishing for example claims to be able to publish ebooks in a matter of hours.  Platforms like these make it easy for authors to not only bypass traditional publishing routes but to reach thousands of buyers quickly.

Although on the surface it would seem that services like these are a threat to traditional publishing and printing (and for the most part they are), they also bring forth a phenomenon that could create additional opportunity for those players.  In the old model, it is incredibly difficult for authors to succeed and very easy for them to give up.  With self-publishing processes like the one offered by Amazon, it’s easier for authors to try to push work out again and again even if they aren’t successful at first.  If they finally strike it big with a title, they may be more likely to turn to professional help and larger print runs.

What trends do you see influencing the print and publishing industries?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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Books As Art

Coney island of the mind

A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, with art by R. B. Kitaj sold by Arion Press

Before books were mass produced, bookmaking was a fine art.  The price-driven commodity that is book manufacturing today used to be a task reserved for skilled artisans who made beautiful works of art by hand.  Today as the publishing and print industries are being turned upside down by the proliferation of eReading devices, skilled artists continue to make works of art that cater to a high-end market.  Check out these professionals making beautiful books by hand.

Arion Press

Started in 1982 by printer/publisher Andrew Hoyem, Arion Press specializes in making high end books out of old titles.  They make about two to three limited edition books per year and everything is made by hand.  No two are alike and the press prides itself on making one of kind creations that are sought after as much for their beauty as they are for their content.

The Arion Gallery

The Arion Gallery

Their gallery, located in The Presidio in San Francisco, features many of their previous works.  You can even take a tour  if you are in the area.  Arion highlights a phenomenon that is taking shape amid the rise of electronic content publishing.  With some of their editions selling for upwards of $7,000, some people are looking toward the book as an object of artistry rather than just a means to deliver content.  While the average person isn’t going to run out and buy a beautifully hand-bound copy of Moby Dick for $2,200, the concept remains the same.  There are really no replacements for a well-made book.

Publication Studios

Publication Studio PiecesBooks for the people, by the people–that seems to be the theme of a Portland, Oregon startup that specializes in producing hand-made books for clients.  They make books by artists and authors they admire as well as those requested by clients.  Founded in 2009, they now have six other studios across North America.

Publication Studios doesn’t conduct business the way traditional book manufacturers or retailers do.  They don’t focus on a target market or let demand drive their decisions.  They produce books for a public and leverage their own personal networks to get visibility for their work.

If you can take anything from the fact that businesses like these exist, it is the notion that books are more than just a means to deliver content.  They evoke emotion, shape culture, and their physical presence tells a story about the people who made them.

Do you own a book that could be considered a work of art?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

 

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5 Tips for Document Construction

Document construction can be a tedious task.  It helps to know some of the best practices for producing print ready files that can be accepted pretty much anywhere you go.  Feel free to check out our list of document construction tips and add a few of your own in the comment section below.

1. Choosing Software

While current word processors are capable of producing a wide variety of page designs and layouts, and some are capable of exporting PDF files, we strongly recommend publications being produced using software dedicated to page layout. QuarkXPress and InDesign, for example, offer capabilities that streamline document construction.

Different software packages have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are more difficult to master than others. Matching the type of publication you plan to produce to the appropriate software will make the entire process more successful.

2. Using Software for Document Construction

Some features offered in page layout programs can include:

Master Pages and Templates

Use master pages and templates to place repeating items such as running heads, footers, and folios.

Control Palettes

Control palettes give the precise mathematical coordinates of any item on a page. A small variance in the position of the running head will not be obvious on a monitor, but can be detected using the coordinates given in the control palette.

Style Sheets

Use to establish a publications library and keep font usage consistent.

These features help establish and maintain standards even with multiple documents and even with multiple authors. By deciding at the beginning of a project what these parameters should look like, you have set clear guidelines, which helps to assure final PDF files will have a greater degree of consistency.

3. Managing Fonts

Always use an actual font face as opposed to applying the software styles to the font. For example, rather than applying bold to Times Roman from the style menus or shortcuts, choose to use the font Times Roman Bold. Stylized fonts may appear correctly on your monitor, but can be substituted during PDF creation.

By using a type manager to load and unload fonts as you work on a publication and removing similarly named fonts from your system, you can avoid font substitution and reflow when creating your final PDF.

4. Managing Color

When designing with color always be conservative when selecting your color pallet. Using too many colors or multiple colors with the same name can force bad color interpretation by the imagesetters, and may result in colors dropping out of the printed book.

Make sure your colors are set up correctly. Do not mix Pantone colors and CMYK builds. Make sure that gradients and blends remain the colors intended, as many programs will create CMYK builds of Pantone colors for these effects.

Verify that any screens of a color are considered screens of that color by the software, and not separate colors. For example 40% black should be a 40% value of the color black, not a separate spot color with a 40% black value.

Black or darker colors should usually be set to overprint lighter inks, unless there are areas where the darker color is used as the background for lighter text or graphics “reversing” out of the color.

Trapping is an area where a lighter color is slightly expanded to overlap or spread into an area of darker color by a very small margin, usually 0.005 inch. This allows the colors to meet without any gaps due to ink spreads or slight variations in the printing process. Several software packages offer trapping options, but unless you know the exact standards of the press being used and the color densities, we suggest that these settings be left unused.

5. Managing Graphics

Never use the “hairline” setting for rules or borders, or set a rule to measure less than one half of a point. Imagesetters will produce a line much finer than a laser printer. Lines so fine that they may in fact become almost invisible at imaging, or even completely disappear.

Avoid the pattern fills available in many application software packages. These were designed for screen presentations or for imaging on low-resolution printers, and may image incorrectly or not at all on a high-resolution imagesetter.

Keep color names consistent between imported graphics and the page layout program to avoid dropped colors and incorrect trapping.

Be aware that there may be vast differences between what you see on your monitor, the proof generated by a 300 dpi laser printer, and a 2400 dpi CTP (computer-to-plate) imagesetter.

There are two distinct types of graphics with two sets of distinct considerations:

  • Object-Oriented (Vector) Images are a series of points in electronic space describing a path and what is contained in that path (a fill, for example). Vector graphics are like string art: each pin is a control point, and manipulations to that point determine how the thread following it will behave.
  • Keep it simple! The more control points associated with a vector drawing, the bigger the file and the greater the chances for imaging failure. Autotraced graphics often contain an enormous number of control points; many of these points can be deleted, simplifying the file.
  • Masks or clipping paths over TIFF scans should be used with caution.
  • Color names must be identical to those used in the page layout program, and should be designated as spot colors and not process colors to produce correct output (unless you are producing process color art).
  • Make sure you use percentages of one spot color as tints, and not different spot colors, to prevent a 2-color job from imaging as a 6-or-more-color job!
  • Fonts used in EPS graphics can be converted to graphic elements, eliminating the need to supply the font along with the graphic. This option, however, can degrade the appearance of small text and/or “delicate” faces, and should be used with care.
  • PICT and PAINT files and fills should be avoided. They were not designed for high-resolution output.
  • Metafiles are similar to PICT files. Some PC clip art is supplied in this format. These should carefully be converted to EPS files for placement in the document.

 

  • Scans and Bitmaps (Raster) Art are like tiles in a mosaic. Resolution (dots per inch or dpi) determines the size of each “tile.” Monitors have a typical resolution of 72 dpi (where each pixel is a “dot”); laser printers have a typical resolution of 300 dpi; and imagesetters output at resolutions from 1200 to 3600 dpi or greater. Desktop flatbed scanners typically offer hardware resolution of up to 300 dpi and use software interpolation to achieve resolutions of up to 1200 dpi. Professional drum scanners can achieve real resolution of 4000 dpi.
  • Higher resolution = smaller “tiles.” Smaller tiles = smoother transitions. Each tile contains a specific amount of data (even the “blank” or white ones).
  • Resolution should be determined at the time the image is created or scanned. Attempting to image a 72 dpi scan at high resolution (1,200 dpi or greater) will result in obvious bitmapping or “pixelizing” of halftones and “jaggies” in line art.
  • Cropping and sizing should be done first at the scanning stage. Any additional cropping, sizing, editing, or rotation should be done in an image-editing program such as Photoshop and not in the page layout program. Extra white space around an image should be cropped away in an image editing program because each pixel of blank white space increases both image size and RIP time.
  • Converting color images to gray scale will often require manipulation of the various color channels to get good quality reproduction. Colors in the purple-to-red range tend to turn too dark, and colors in the yellow-to-blue range tend to disappear.
  • What-you-see-is-NOT-what-you-get! The image that looks great on your monitor is not necessarily what will print the best. Low-resolution (laser) proofs are not adequate for halftone proofing. Minimum dot value and dot gain compensation issues need to be worked out in advance through test files output at high resolution. Good halftone scans require high-quality equipment and a thorough understanding of press requirements.
  • Halftone scans should be made as close to the final printed size as possible, at a resolution of 1.5 to 2 times the desired line screen (a 133-line printed image should be scanned at 200 to 266 dots per inch). Scanning at too low a resolution will result in obvious bitmapping of the image and/or loss of detail. Scanning at too high a resolution will pick up unwanted artifacts and create unnecessarily large files and longer imaging times.
  • Line art should be scanned at the highest resolution possible, but with some thought given to the type of art. A soft, sketchy piece may reproduce beautifully scanned at 600 dpi and won’t improve at 1200 dpi. A text-intensive piece, such as a logo or a schematic drawing, requires at least 1200 dpi to reproduce well.
  • In many instances, it would be better to re-create line art as an object-oriented drawing than to use it as a scanned image. A full-page scanned border could easily take up 12 megabytes of space and take 40 minutes to image. The same border, re-created as a vector image, might only be 120 kilobytes and image in 3 minutes.

 

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