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by Technews
Issue Date: Feb 2000

Digital books 'on demand' comes of age

1 February 2001

The printing of books digitally 'on demand' took a major step towards the publishing mainstream at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair. Bertelsmann Arvato, one of the world's leading international book producers as well as a media printing and service company, and Xerox, announced a partnership that will see Bertelsmann and Xerox deploy digital print on demand technology worldwide. The move is expected to drive the digital 'book-on-demand' market as the industry follows Bertelsmann to increase revenues, cut costs and provide more flexible service to customers than is possible with traditional offset printing alone.
The partnership will develop a state-of-the-art digital book-printing infrastructure and clearly marks Bertelsmann's intent to strengthen its leadership by adding on-demand production flexibility to its current production capacity. The publisher will use the power of Xerox' industry leading digital book publishing solutions for short run books, review copies, as well as reprints and out of print books cost effectively. Increase of its printing on demand capacities will allow Bertelsmann to react better on the changing requirements of the book market.
Commenting on its choice of Xerox, Edwin Eichler, member of the Board of Bertelsmann Arvato AG and CEO of Mohn Media, says: "Our decision to embrace digital on demand printing is driven by the growth of the Internet. The web is changing the way books and other media products are sold and marketed to an increasingly global market. Xerox has technological leadership in digital publishing and offers flexibility from the fastest, most powerful solutions in cut sheet and continuous feed publishing systems. The company's experience in providing solutions integrating third party software development and finishing devices was a compelling offer. Combined with the know-how within Bertelsmann, the intention of this partnership is to develop existing digital book publishing technologies further in a joint effort."
The move is expected to increase the proportion of books published 'on demand' from under 10% today to some 30% over the next few years. The development is also expected to fuel growth among previously out of print books, short run review copies, special editions and books targeted at niche and special interest groups.
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