Good, Cheap and Fast: The ONE Secret to Scoring All THREE for your Association’s Publications

They said you can’t have it all – the golden three: good, cheap, fast. You can’t have all three, they said. Pick two, they said.

Until now, the choices have required a sacrifice:

  • Quality: You could have your manual printed inexpensively with a quick turnaround, but it will look like dirt.
  • Price: You could have a scholarly journal printed super-fast (just in time for your conference) and high quality, but the cost would put you out of business.
  • Time: You could have your association book or journal printed high quality and low cost, but it would take 6-8 weeks.

The secret to getting your publication good, cheap AND fast

Since the book publishing industry is rapidly changing and adapting with current trends, technology has advanced to the point that if you know what to ask for, you actually CAN have it all. Here’s the secret: ask for the right technology. It’s called Inkjet Web Printing technology. You do not want to use a print partner who does not have this capability.

Inkjet Web: High Quality

No association executive is going to give up on quality when it comes to member (and advertiser) benefits, so you would have to sacrifice cost and/or timeline to get the high quality your members, your sponsors and your field deserve.

The technology now offered with inkjet web presses boasts output resolution and advanced screening algorithms that support quality that is comparable to the highest quality conventional presses on the market. Improvements in smaller dot size (than EP particle size) and support for stochastic screening results in higher resolutions and higher quality halftones, which are similar to offset print quality.

Inkjet Web: Right On Budget

A few years ago, the average run length of an association publication was 2,500 to 5,000 in order to meet the breakpoint of cost efficiency. Many associations had to print quantities at this level only to meet the breakpoint requirements, but not because they needed so many. This led to wastage, out-of-date publications and lack of storage space or huge warehousing fees.

Inkjet Web technology plays a key role in lowering inventory costs and moving to a just-in-time/on-demand scenario. Moreover, by asking for the right technology in inkjet web, your ideal quantities will be more like this:

  • Monochrome books: 1,000 to 1,200 copies
  • Two-color journals: 1,500 to 1,750 copies
  • Four-color books: 200 to 2,500
    (Ah, that’s more like it!)

Also, with versioning, you can lower costs by printing several different versions of the same book or journal at once. The digital technology allows for very sophisticated variable data printing.

In real life, what does this mean?
Historically, run length has been the serious hindrance for associations to make efficient use of their resources. One or two year supply of books involved a run length of 2,000-5,000. Large associations have moved to digital ‘build-a-book’ solutions with their partners using inkjet web technology. Under this arrangement, the manuscript is written and edited, then sold and/or mailed to members. Because information changes so quickly, a book might be outdated in six months. The publications team can pull chapters from existing books or write new chapters and create a book for each quarter. Members then have fresh information that is changing with the field and the publications budget doesn’t suffer.

Inkjet Web: Swift Turnaround Time

Only a few years ago, the typical turnaround time for a book or journal to be printed was about 4-6 weeks. This meant association executives had to scramble to accelerate timelines, which sometimes resulted in mistakes and higher costs to fix them.

Now, partners who offer Inkjet Web technology (like United Book Press) can usually make a 10-day window from final manuscript, meaning that editorial timelines run to realistic deadlines, and your team can take a bit more time to ensure the quality is just right. Don’t your members deserve it?

In conclusion, the big secret is to ask for more from your book press partner – the technology is there, you just have to know to ask for it.

Want to know more? Let’s talk.

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