MMS roundtable highlights on print on demand
The Mumbai Mudrak Sangh (MMS) hosted the sixth edition of its roundtable conference on 14 April 2023 at MCA Club, BKC, Mumbai. The interactions between eight expert leaders in eight different groups were centred around rethink, redesign and realign. Table eight of the roundtable conference focused on the topic print on demand.
17 Apr 2023 | By Kalpak Shah
Print on Demand (POD) services have emerged as a popular way for authors and publishers to bring their work to the market with little upfront cost. While the POD industry has been growing steadily in India over the past few years, there is still a need to create a community or an ecosystem that brings together all the stakeholders to discuss and remove the roadblocks.
In a recent panel discussion on POD services in India, it was unanimously agreed that the POD model cannot work in India as a one-book print order is not feasible for most printers. Instead, the model should be called POD short-run, and any book with a minimum quantity of 10-20 can be delivered in a couple of days. Additionally, there is a need for an ecosystem for the POD model to work, ranging from self-publishers and traditional publishers to printers. Educating customers is also crucial to ensure the long-term sustainability of the POD model.
One of the major bottlenecks for POD services in India is the cost of factory equipment, especially binding machines. Setting up common facility centres where printers can collaborate and use and test new technology can help streamline the workflow.
It is essential to understand that personalization can be good for content but wasteful on formats, and hence not sustainable. Therefore, there is a need to remove the discrepancies in the formats of educational books made by different agencies, which can bring down the cost of most equipment used for producing them by half.
There are several models of POD services available, ranging from self-publishing to custom publishing. However, hardware and software come only after understanding market demands. Photocopy and short-run digital print service bureaus are venturing into POD services quicker than conventional book printers. This is an opportunity loss for those book printers who understand how to make a book and already have links to publishing.
The adhesive binding solutions available for POD services are already evolved and ready for use in India. Bindwel and Horizon of Japan have solutions that can be used for both single book and short-run printing. Bindwel also has hybrid models that can be used for medium-run inline book production as well as short-run bookbinding. However, the evolution of hardcover books on demand is still a work in progress, and the solutions for short-run thread sewing, book block making, hardcover machines, and casing in are either still evolving or prohibitively expensive.
In conclusion, while the POD industry in India is evolving, there is a need for an ecosystem that brings together all stakeholders to discuss and remove roadblocks, along with educating customers for the long-term sustainability of the model. By addressing these issues, the POD industry in India can reach its full potential and meet the growing demand for personalised and affordable book printing services.