Random House Australia is part of the world’s largest book publishing group. Like other publishers Random House Australia uses a variety of offset printers to produce books in Australia and overseas. Random House Australia needed an effective solution to economically produce books in smaller quantities. Before a book is published a number of copies of the book are produced to be sent for review and used for marketing purposes. Once a book has been published and reprinted there may still be a demand for smaller quantities in the market place. Digital print on demand is the ideal production method for these short runs because there are only minimal print set up costs.
A library of digital files is a pre-requisition to print books on demand. RHA have an archive of digital book artwork files and SOS helped them with the standardisation of their reliable digital masters. Older books, where no digital files are available, are scanned in on SOS high speed document scanners and stored as pdf files.
Online System - Short Run Books
An SOS designed and developed online system allows RHA to place orders easily using a shopping basket metaphor familiar from other e-commerce sites. This is where orders can be placed for books that are printed in quantities of 20 to 900. Orders can be tracked, notifications to production and logistics staff are generated automatically. Order costs and delivery information can be recalled in real time. Online reports show expeniture and title volumes.
The short run program has allowed Random House to bring titlles back into print and to reduce their warehousing requirements.
Automated System - Book of One (POD)
In September 2009 Random House started their POD program. This was supposed to supply books that were ordered in even lower quantities. These books are printed on demand (POD), produced after they are ordered.
To make this production challenge work, SOS extended the online system to take in orders automatically from the Random House procurement system. The incoming orders are then validated by the system, artwork availability is checked and the orders are routed straight to production. Bound books are packed in singles and despatched to the specified loation.