A digital mindset
Specialist book producer Livonia Print in Riga, Latvia has been in business for just a decade, but has grown from a standing start in 2007, with around 550 employees now producing some 40 million books a year.
Having built the business on analogue production processes, managing director Trond Erik Isaksen saw the needs of his publishing clients evolving. Recognising that inkjet technology had reached offset quality for books, he knew that the time was right to push through a digital transformation strategy. His aim was to take advantage of emerging opportunities for shorter publishing runs that are fundamentally incompatible with litho production, future-proofing his business in the process.
Isaksen explains the underlying issue: “The old, analogue book publishing model is fraught with risk. The publisher decides, based on their sales estimates, how many copies of a particular title to produce. The bookseller estimates which titles are likely to succeed in store and orders accordingly, later returning unsold copies to the publisher. 20% of the original production volume may come back as returns, so the publisher’s cash is tied up in surplus stock, which then needs to be stored or destroyed.”
For Isaksen, it was clear that digital production offered an ideal solution to his clients’ commercial dilemma.