Thomson-Shore acquires custom book bindery, expands specialty binding capabilities

Thomson-Shore, a leading book manufacturer located in Dexter, Michigan, recently acquired The Bessenberg Bindery, a specialty hand bindery out of Ann Arbor, Mich. Through the new partnership with Jon Buller, founder of Bessenberg, Thomson-Shore will begin offering Books as Art™ capabilities integrated with its already robust offset and digital printing and binding platform.

"We think that in this world of one-off digital and e-books, publishers, authors and consumers are going to be looking for a high quality alternative that is as beautiful as is it economical," says Kevin Spall, president and CEO of Thomson-Shore. "Our experience has shown that people are looking for a little more soul in their books, and are especially interested in the aesthetics of quality book manufacturing."

Bessenberg began as Brown Bess Bindery in 1978 by Jon Buller in Rochester, Mich. Buller moved the business to Ann Arbor in 1982 and changed the name to Bessenberg after a merger with Guttenberg Bindery. Despite a highly competitive market, Bessenberg has grown in recent years, and even purchased assets from competitors that have gone out of business. Today, Bessenberg is the only commercial custom case bindery in Michigan and one of only a handful nationwide.

The acquisition, which became official on December 1, 2010, rounds out $15 million in total investments in Thomson-Shore's platform reinvention since 2005. "We've invested a good deal of time and money in order to better serve our publishing customers," Stated Spall.

Thomson-Shore expects Books as Art™ to generate new revenue and lead to further competitive advantage for the company. "Thomson-Shore is providing a service that doesn't currently exist in the market," said Spall. "With the acquisition of The Bessenberg Bindery, high quality digital short run and one-off case binding is an easy market opportunity for Thomson-Shore."