Best of PI - Short Run

Spring 1994 Super Short Run Update

If you haven't gotten any current prices from us on jobs with extremely short runs using the new Docutech Printing System (this is quantities from about 25 to 150 ... too low for us to produce on our regular equipment), those prices are now lower than before. We are continuing to do both hard and soft bound books in these short runs and now we are more competitive than ever. Also, another innovation is that we are now able to produce books on the Docutech directly from customer furnished disks.

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Winter 1994 An Update on Our Super Short Run

It has been over a year since we mentioned our "other" operation . . . our Super Short Run System designed to economically produce hard or soft bound books in runs from about 25 to 150. And, since we've made some major changes here, it seems a good time for an update.

Ten years ago we were approached by a good customer who asked if there was any way we could economically print and case bind books in quantities from about 50 to 200 copies. Using our conventional equipment, the pricing came out too high to make it economical for them to market the books but, after some investigation, we found we could adapt Insta-print technology . . . direct imaging plate making and 11 x 17" perfector press with automatic plate loading plus library binding for case bound books or a hand fed perfect binding for soft bound books . . . and we were able to meet their needs.

While we never made much effort to tell the world about this unusual system, we did build our volume up to about 350 titles a year vs. about 4000 for our main plant. And, until recently, it pretty much kept going on its own with very little change. However, as with many things today, new technology reared its head and we are changing how we handle these very short runs.

With the introduction of the Docutech System by Xerox, it is now possible for us to produce books at the very low end of our short run printing more economically than ever. Whereas our original equipment ran from about 50 to 200 copies before it became more efficient to use our conventional Heidelberg presses, the Docutech is more effective pricewise in the range from 20 to 100 . . . for either hard or soft bound books. It also solves one of the quality problems the original system had since the beginning and that is the quality of halftone reproduction . . . or more precisely, the quality of a picture reproduced from a printed reproduction.

Most of the work we have done in these short run printings involves utilizing already existing printed books for the camera copy. However, we could not do a good job of reproducing an already printed halftone but now that has changed. For about $1.50 per halftone we can achieve a quality of reproduction very close to the original printed copy.

We believe that this feature, along with being able to lower our price on runs below 100 copies, will help us expand in this area. To help further, we are experimenting with doing the hard binding on these books in our own bindery. Until now, we sent the short run hard bound books out to be library bound, by hand, one copy at a time. We are hoping to be able to some day soon do this in-house and at a much greater speed and, hence, lower cost.

Sometime by the end of March we hope to have price scales worked out for both hard and soft bound books but at the moment we are still working at determining our costs with this new system. However, in the meantime to at least give you something to serve as a frame of reference, our price for 25 copies of a 6 x 8 3 " 288 page case bound book would be $675.00.

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