Konica Minolta brings digital print expertise to book market

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Konica Minolta, the service provider for IT and document processes, has announced a further strengthening position for the book printing market. Backed by its multi-step business development programme called Digital 1234, Konica Minolta will be sponsoring the 2015 London Digital Printing Forum at the Royal Society, Carlton Terrace, in London, on 25 June.

Underpinning its commitment to innovation and opening up new markets opportunities, Konica Minolta will play a major role in this full-day educational event organised by market and technology research firm Interquest. The forum will focus on key trends in the book market, the evolution of book manufacturing and the supply chain, and the use of digital printing to produce books.

Interquest projects that the overall volume of printed books in units produced in Europe will decline by 4% in a five-year period to 2018. It believes that the volume of printed books produced conventionally will drop by 6% per year in the same period, while the volume of books printed digitally will increase by 20%. Two years ago, 5% of the volume of books printed in Europe was printed digitally, which is expected to increase to 16-18% by 2018.

A survey of European printers by the consultants put 'shorter run lengths' as the top trend (45%), followed by 'volume decline' at 33% and growth of digital colour (30%). Other trends include 'more frequent of orders of smaller quantities (22%) and better inventory management by publishers (19%) also on the radar.

Konica Minolta's involvement has been announced in the wake of the digital printer supplier's major investment plans in growing market opportunities such as augmented reality and the development of advanced colour printing systems specially designed for small print runs, extremely tight deadlines and for processing variable data.

Mark Hinder, Head of Market Development, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, said: "The reality at the moment is that all hardback and most paperback books have covers that are either printed using litho, or digitally using toner-based equipment. We're looking forward to the London Digital Book Forum where we will be explaining the many outstanding benefits of our technology for the market as the run lengths for books fall and people order from the web."

Hinder added: "Through the use of Digital 1234, we will help both printers and publishers bring more value into printed books with solutions and technologies such as augmented reality. It is another example of our programmes linking the digital world to the conventional printed books market to build further new business application opportunities in areas such as manuals and education. Konica Minolta systems will enable commercial printers to provide higher quality book production in areas where, up to now, the digital technology has struggled to produce quality systems designed specifically for these applications."

Gilles Biscos, President of Interquest, said: "We are extremely excited to welcome Konica Minolta as a first-time sponsor of the event. This year's programme will examine the current state of the book manufacturing supply chain from the perspective of leading printers and publishers."

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