Océ, an international leader in digital document management and delivery, has announced that Buchbücher.de GmbH, one of the leading book-on-demand providers in Germany and part of the CPI group, produces soft- and hardcover books in small runs on Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex and Océ VarioPrint 6160 Ultra.
"A beautiful book is the ideal proposition of content and form." – With this claim, the German CPI Group – consisting of the printers Clausen&Bosse in Leck, Ebner&Spiegel in Ulm, Moravia Books in Pohorelice (Czech Republic) and buchbücher.de in Birkach – serves over 600 customers in publishing and in industry. The spectrum of products ranges from hardcover titles to paperbacks, from single copies for bibliophiles to simple brochures in large numbers. Reduced set-up times, no printing plates and integrated binding guarantee efficient book production – even for small runs.
The small-run segment in the CPI Group is covered by buchbücher.de, located in the Franconian town of Birkach. Buchbücher was one of the first service providers in the market to place its faith in producing books using digital printing technology. "When we presented our printing-on-demand concept at the Frankfurt book fair in 1998, the publishing houses were astonished," remembers Robert Höllein, Partner in, and CEO of, buchbücher.de GmbH. "In the meantime we're one of the leading on-demand printers in Germany. With a staff of 30, we produce around 500,000 hard- and softcover books a year in the segments fiction, non-fiction, STMA and photo books – in runs of between 1 and 800 copies."
Minimized risks for publishers
At the same time, buchbücher.de produces not only niche titles that are essentially low volume: "The establishment of the printing-on-demand business led to a rethink on the part of publishing houses," explains Höllein. "Distribution risks are minimized by keeping the initial runs low, the titles simply being reproduced as needed. Thanks to high-productivity digital printing, this has become both technically and economically possible."
"The life of content or entire titles is being reduced continuously, impelling publishers to change content and print updated editions at short notice," describes Sebastian Landesberger, Executive Vice President, Océ Production Printing. "More titles are produced, year by year, yet unit volumes are staying the same – meaning the lengths of individual runs are getting shorter. With their decision for on-demand book production, buchbücher.de just hit the mark."
A smooth workflow – from order to delivery – is a decisive criterion for the approximately 200 buchbücher.de customers who are publishers. Therefore this service provider, which sees itself not only as a printing operation but also as process optimizer, develops special software applications for Print on Demand – from order-induced book manufacture (print-to-order) to HerO, an online manufacturing assistant. HerO provides the client with a binding cost calculation, visualization of the envelope dimensions, transmission of the print data and structuring of distribution as well as order follow-up and reprinting management. "In this way we're in a position to also handle orders for the smallest runs cost-effectively," says Höllein.
Flexible and faster with Print on Demand
Océ digital printing technology was already in place at buchbücher.de by 2004. The company printed the inside pages of books on the b/w web-fed Océ VarioStream 7300 system; color pages and covers were created on a separate color printing system. "In the publishing business, success very much depends on the print and finishing quality – more than in other sectors," says Höllein. "At the same time we must, of course, also produce quickly and economically. Therefore our requirements on the printing systems used are especially high."
At the beginning of 2010 buchbücher.de undertook, jointly with Océ, the next step in the optimization of the digital book printing and installed a color web-fed Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex system as well as a cutsheet b/w Océ VarioPrint 6160 Ultra system. This has made the company even more flexible and faster in the printing-on-demand business: "While we produce mid-sized runs of up to 800 copies on the Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex, the Océ VarioPrint 6160 Ultra handles small runs of up to 50 copies," Höllein explains.
Future-proof through upgradability
For buchbücher.de, the decisive investment factors were, in addition to the higher printing speed, the direct front side and perfecting printing of both Océ systems: "The paper is printed on both sides in a single operation and is therefore handled more gently," Höllein explains. "On one hand this lets us use a larger spectrum of materials, and on the other, the high quality of the final product is ensured because the paper does not shrink or become corrugated. Moreover the susceptibility to errors while printing goes down, leading in the final analysis to higher productivity."
Buchbücher.de currently uses the Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex as a high-productivity b/w system designed for a speed of 800 A4 pages per minute. If required, the system can be upgraded on the spot for an output of up to 1,425 pages. "This option was important to our decision, because it meant investment security," observes Robert Höllein in conclusion.