by Donna Covannon
BookBaby, one of the leading book self-publishing companies in the U.S., today announced a significant expansion of its book printing capacity. The company has purchased two Xeikon SX30000 full-color presses to add to its fast-growing book printing operation. The presses will feed into a newly purchased Gen8 Hunkeler finishing line.
BookBaby’s end-to-end publishing solution for independent authors has proven so compelling in the marketplace that the company grew revenues by 30% during the pandemic year of 2020, and an astounding 55% in 2021. “We offer today’s authors everything they need to get published,” commented BookBaby president Jim Foley, “from editing, design and layout services, to eBooks, printed books, print on demand, global distribution, and even marketing services to help authors sell more books. The new Xeikon digital presses add needed printing capacity to BookBaby’s in-house facility and significantly improve the company’s operational efficiency.”
Quality was the determining factor
About 40% of BookBaby’s printing volume is full-color books, and the company works with tens of thousands of photographers, children’s book authors, and other color-critical clients. In its quest to increase capacity, the company evaluated several roll-fed printing press manufacturers, with the deciding factor being the need to produce the highest quality books to satisfy their authors’ exacting standards.
Xeikon was the clear winner. “They nailed all of our key requirements,” said Nick Smith, BookBaby’s Senior Director of Printing Operations. “We wanted to provide our book printing clients better color quality. We also wanted a more sustainable, cost-efficient process. So after a thorough assessment of the competitive technology, we knew Xeikon’s dry toner-based roll printing technology was the best choice to keep up with the demands of our clientele. Their dry toner color quality was just clearly superior to comparable inkjet presses.”
Xeikon’s SX30000 is the company’s flagship digital press for the graphic arts. Based on Xeikon’s SIRIUS dry toner technology, the press is a single-pass duplex machine capable of running at 98 feet per minute (428 letter pages per minute), a 50% speed increase over previous Xeikon presses. The Xeikon SX30000 is suited for a wide range of applications, including high-quality books, direct mail, point-of-sale materials, security documents, and general commercial printing– producing more than 2500 B2 (4/4) sheets/hour.
Sustainability and efficiency
Environmental stewardship is important to BookBaby and its authors, and the company has been pacing toward a more sustainable printing process, using vegetable-based inks and paper stocks certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). And now, those eco-friendly efforts get a boost with the addition of Xeikon’s dry toner presses. "Dry toner is the most sustainable digital printing technology out there. The toners are even FDA certified, although that's not yet a requirement for books, quipped Joel Maxey, BookBaby VP of Operations. Plus, the Xeikon SX30000 does not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and all prints are perfectly deinkable. Compared with similar competing digital presses, it uses a fraction of the energy and requires lower HVAC capacity than comparable inkjet presses."
Going from sheet-fed to roll-fed
“We are excited to be the roll-fed printing partner to BookBaby,” said Donna Covannon, Director of Marketing, Xeikon America. “This is a significant evolution for BookBaby. They already have seven sheet-fed presses on the floor, and will increase their book output by close to 50% by adding roll-fed capacity. Our Xeikon SX30000 presses are a perfect match for their high-quality, short-run book printing operation.”
“We expect the Xeikon presses to drive a significant increase in operating margins for BookBaby,” added Jim Foley. “It’s a win-win-win: Industry-leading color quality, the lowest environmental footprint, and a big boost in operating efficiency.
We’re looking forward to working with the Xeikon team for years to come!”
Fourth from right: Jim Foley, president, BookBaby; Benoit Chatelard, president, Xeikon; Joel Maxy, vice president, Operations, BookBaby.