CIPA’s January Focus Forum on Jan 20 was all about digital printing, as 32 CIPA members toured Frederic Printing in Aurora, (a division of CGX Publishing) saw their very big digital web press, the HP T200 and learned about printing options for their books.

CIPA members with the HP T200

“What press was your book printed on?”asked Peter Vandevanter of Frederic Printing. He went on to say why we should care. For the last 50 years, the question was irrelevant. But now, digital web presses have introduced “disruptive technology” that enable authors to customize their books for specific audiences, add full color to their work and print them faster and less expensively. (Web presses print on huge rolls of paper. Standard offset presses use sheets of paper.)

Finished print jobs await cutting and binding.

Printing your book on a digital web press allows you to print 1 to 900 books for a set price per book. It’s still a higher unit price than if you used an offset printing press, but you can spend less money for printing up front and not have to store boxes of books in your garage.

Producing books on digital presses has been around for a few years. But Frederic’s HP T200 Inkjet Web Press is fast and versatile.

CIPA Education Chair Liz Beerman was enthusiastic about the possibilities offered by digital web presses. “Independent publishers could customize their work for a variety of audiences. I’ve got some ideas already for my book! What a boon for our members!”