CASE STUDY

From single books to bestsellers in 24 hours




We have a competitive advantage over offset printers. They need four days to produce a book, when we only need 24 hours.

Dave Van‘t Wout,
Production manager, CB
Two male employees talking

An evolving business model

With a heritage going back to 1871, CB, originally Centraal Boekhuis, is the leading distributor of books in The Netherlands and Belgium. Today, the company distributes over 54 million books each year to trade customers and also directly to consumers through web shops. The company can now produce around 10,000 books a day which is a staggering four million books a year.

Changing trends

Mathijs Suidman, Director of Media at CB, comments on the changing trends in the publishing industry: “Sales of physical books are declining. The consequence is that the same number of books are published but the average production volume of an edition is smaller. This is resulting in print runs getting smaller and smaller, so it is now less viable to keep these titles in stock. That presents a tough challenge for publishers: to deliver their books efficiently to the market, without the need to keep stock.”

Suidman continues, “Consumers are more demanding than they used to be, wanting books delivered tomorrow or even the same day. Print on-demand is the answer. The turnaround time for a book that we produce digitally is exactly the same as for a book in stock, with delivery within 24 hours. We can now guarantee a publisher that a book is always available.”

Man standing next to large Canon printer

From order to delivery

CB has built its own online ordering portal, enabling book publishers to place jobs directly through its system. For publishers, this creates a seamless end-to-end experience, from order input to delivery.

By automating this process and, in some cases, only producing a book when it is ordered, CB reduces capital tied up in stock. As soon as an order is put in the system, it automatically syncs with Canon’s digital print technology solutions to initiate book production.

CB now offers three distinctive production methods to customers. Books with a low turnover rate are produced on-demand as a single copy, using sheetfed devices such as the Océ VarioPrint 6000 TITAN and the Océ VarioPrint i-series.

To handle a sudden spike in demand, or simply because the edition of a book is less than 1500 copies, CB can offer short-run production on continuous feed printers including the Océ ColorStream and Océ ImageStream. If a title is a bestseller, the company can offset print the book in large quantities, and keep stock at CB.



Canon’s digital print solutions can handle a variety of paper types and work with the same standard media that we use with our offset presses.

Dave Van‘t Wout,
Production manager, CB

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