Digital printers focus on book binding in Pune hub

Vicky Stationers and Copiers, Print Point and Star Copiers; printers from Pune have equipped in-house binding service by Bindwel to leverage their capabilities beyond just printing

13 Mar 2023 | By PrintWeek Team

(l-r) Shaktivel Nadar of Bindwel and Khimji Patel of Vicky Stationers and Copiers

Across the country, digital print service providers are focusing on building capabilities for book printing. Because this business is regular, predictable and profitable. Be it traditional publishers printing up to 500 copies of a title or the edutech companies needing customised books for distribution or the coaching classes requiring books to be distributed to their students - the takers for short run books are building up.

Now print firms in Pune’s Sadashiv Peth have taken matters into their own hands and try to boost their facilities with post-press kit.

“Printing and binding books require infrastructure and skills that are much higher in comparison to say vinyls or visiting cards. And you get to build long term relationships with your customers,” said Viral Gada of Star Copiers. 

“While costing is important, the work does not start and end with your quote. Publishers take time to understand our capabilities, timelines and the trust is built over a period of time. Printing a book is not a one time job, and it repeats many times in a year, with and without modifications.”

Star Copiers installed a Bindwel Blue Chip perfect binder a few months ago, to augment their capability in book printing.” The machines available in this segment are imports from China and while they fit into your budget and space requirements, fall way short of expectations of quality and reliability. When we need ten books to be bound and delivered, the machine needs to work, everytime we switch it on. We had visited the Bindwel factory in Bengaluru in 2020 and had understood what we were missing in our infrastructure,” said Dinesh Gada, Viral’s brother.

Today, more and more Punekars are shifting from litho to digital, and Pune print firms have the digital firepower with Konica Minolta and Xerox presses. Earlier they used to outsource the book making. But when important jobs had to be printed and finished in tandem, there was a delay. Now all that post-press work is being produced in-house.

Khimji Patel of Vicky Stationers and Copiers has expertise in vinyl printing. It has been a huge shift from that world to book printing. In addition to serving book publishers, the firm caters to walk-in customers.

The firm had a conventional bindery with a Polar cutting machine, spiral / wiro punching and a perfect binding machine imported from Korea. Their book print customers include Ed Tech firms that help schools as well as parents to ensure experiential learning and implementation of concepts by bundling books with their apps. “Not only reliability, but speed is of utmost importance. After the initial setup, the machine maximises its production upto 300 books per hour.”

He adds, “And the quality should be comparable with what is produced by the offset printers. So we decided to replace our imported perfect binders with the Bindwel Blue Chip.” Today, Vicky Copiers produces thousand books a day and they are turned around faster, thanks to the new investment in bindery. They also print a lot of books for higher education and professional course coaching classes and for UPSC and MPSC.

Amul Thakkar, used to manage a digital print house before starting up with Print Point. The firm located in a busy cross section of Sadashiv Peth boasts of a battery of cut sheet inkjet printers producing multicolour books. The focus is high-quality illustrative textbooks. 

“Working for another digital printing services company provided me with the market insight and wisdom of opting for a high quality perfect binder, even before cut-sheet digital presses. I can outsource printing whenever I need, but I cannot send my books to be finished by someone else.” Print Point, used the investment in Bindwel Blue Chip to set a high standard in short run digital printing, and gained the confidence of a lot of print buyers in a very short time.

Shaktivel Nadar, the regional manager sales for Impel-Bindwel group in the West is “bullish” about the prospects of requirements in the digital print segment. Nadar told PrintWeek, “We have sold many Bindwel Blue Chip Binders, after Printpack 2022. In most cases, the buyer had the bad experience of buying a Chinese or Korean solution that did not deliver on reliability or quality quotients.” He added, “All the print firms in Pune have first-hand experience with our kit, and so, they are aware of the quality of binding. The only doubt they had in mind was if it would fit their space and budget.” Bindwel Blue Chip occupies minimal space for a binder of its class and capability. With a rated speed above 500 books per hour, it consumes minimal energy while producing beautiful books and brochures with perfectly side-glued and tightly nipped spines.

“Digital post-printing follows the same adage that was to be followed in offset printing. An investment in a printing machine is only justified by an adequate investment in finishing. While digital printing is competing with the conventional offset to become more economical for even runs like one thousand, the differentiating factor is going to be the post press. Bindwel already has high-end solutions for on-demand book binding where the machine will automatically set everytime a new book arrives. We are also now focussing to adopt or make our solutions to help the cut sheet digital print market. The Blue Chip is a clear winner in this category now”, shared Ajay Nagar, the general manager at Impel-Bindwel, who has joined the post-press leaders to head their digital division.

Sadashiv Peth in Pune is a digital print buyer’s dream destination. It is also evolving into book printing specialisation. Some of the leading high education printers like Pragati and Nirali have converted their short-run requirements into digital print. In the first decade of the new millennium, these publishers used to feed the book printers and binderies in Pune. 

Shaktivel Nadar explained, “The trend we are noticing is, quick turnaround is the norm, and if a print firm is not geared up for it, the firm is going to start losing clients. Today, outsourcing is a no-no, since firms have no control over the timings.” Nadar signed off, “Obviously, there is an upheaval in the last few years and a number of book binders and finishers – certainly in this part of Pune – have either closed or had diversified. And so, firms need to invest in-house and offer a perfect binding service.”


 Amul Thakkar of Print Point 


Viral Gada of Star Copiers