Quad/Graphics plans expansion of book printing capabilities

Special to The Freeman

Jan. 15, 2015

SUSSEX — As part of a three-year strategy, Quad/Graphics announced it will transform its book platform in order to provide publishers with a full range of options for producing and delivering books on demand, bringing zero inventory and just-in-time delivery closer to reality.

The plan announced this week calls for Sussex-based Quad/Graphics to invest in 20 or more HP high-speed color digital web presses — the widest, most productive technology available in the marketplace, front-end workflow solutions for accepting orders and putting them immediately into production; and back-end integrated systems for finishing, distribution and fulfillment, including shipping directly to the end recipient with an auto-generated invoice.

“Our announcement today supports our continued focus on transforming our company and industry to create lasting value for clients and shareholders,” said Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics chairman, president and CEO. “The innovation opportunity in books is enabled by new digital print technologies that are profoundly changing book publishing economics.”

Usually book publishers have to carry large inventories, a significant portion of which may go unsold and become obsolete, according to the announcement.

“With this investment in digital presses and integrated systems we can support a broad industry transition to a print-on-demand, zero-inventory model,” Quadracci said. “Our digital press solution will help redefine the entire book supply chain, giving publishers increased customization and versioning capabilities; faster time-to-market; reduced waste, inventories and obsolescence; and lower fixed costs. Accordingly, publishers will be able to focus more on content and have the ability to redeploy the capital previously tied up in inventory to other initiatives.”

Quad/Graphics plans to install five HP color digital web presses this year, the first being put into place this month. The other 15-plus presses will be installed in the remaining two-year period. Once all units are installed, Quad/Graphics will have the capacity to produce nearly 3 billion color pages each month, according to the announcement.

In the announcement, Quad/Graphics said printed consumer trade books are showing surprising strength despite what had been predicted to be a shift to e-books.