Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning, and research solutions for the academic, professional, and library markets worldwide. With annual revenues of approximately $2 billion, the company, which is based in Stamford, CT, is internationally oriented and growing rapidly, with 5,500 staff employed in operations in more than 20 countries around the world. The printing of custom textbooks is a new and rapidly expanding facet of the company’s business.
The digital print operation was developed to print custom book titles for the higher education market. A custom book is one created from existing books and may include an instructor’s original works as well as chapters from Cengage Learning’s core texts. For instance, a professor may want only 20 of the 40 chapters in a Cengage Learning science book; a custom book can be created incorporating just those chapters and other materials, if desired.
As Stephen Crile, Executive Director of Distribution & Digital Print Operations at Cengage Learning recalls, “With traditional offset we were ordering anywhere from 2,000 to 100,000 books. With digital printing, we do not have the set-up costs associated with offset printing; it costs the same to print one or 1,000. Because we could produce more accurately on demand, we did not have to build up an inventory to achieve a lower unit cost.”
The textbook industry is currently going through a period of great change, but Cengage Learning has a business approach that it is successfully growing. The ability to deliver a custom solution offers professors a choice of what they are doing and gives them more control over the course content.
Crile also observes, “We looked at a lot of equipment from a lot of different vendors and the attractive thing about Océ (Canon Solutions America, Booth 502) was that it is a market-leading vendor. One really attractive feature was the Océ PRISMA solution to integrate the workflows, from our files into the finished product. And the Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex offers true duplex from a single engine, creating less of a footprint within the operation. The simplicity of design and use, plus the field upgradability to full color really impressed us. We chose the Océ ColorStream 10710 model that gives us a maximum speed of 1,515 ppm U.S. letter pages with one color. We also like to move fast and that’s where their sales, service, and technical support were of tremendous help.”
Crile enthuses, “The Océ team was fantastic, right from the idea where we were first discussing this whole concept, through to the execution. They even assisted in the design of the print room; they answered our questions on the different paper media types, other equipment, capabilities, and capacities. They walked us through software solutions to make everything work. Then when we did sign the purchase order, they brought in experts who configured the Océ PRISMA software suite in a specific fashion that streamlines our workflow, from files through imposition and on to print. We basically drag a file to a directory on the print server and Océ PRISMA decides where to go with it, what to do with it, and how to print it. Summing it up, Océ was fantastic. It was a good experience, because way back when, we didn’t really know what we were getting into!”