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In print-on-demand - sometimes called publish-on-demand - selected publications are printed only in the amounts needed at the time. Printing the exact amount avoids warehousing problems.

Print-on-demand is fast, with delivery times as little as just a few hours. Print-on-demand also means that reprints required can be done quickly.

WSOY - Finland's leading publisher of books and educational material - gets the benefits of Print-on-Demand. Last year, WSOY published nearly 1,400 new books. For instance, the company uses print-on-demand to print the educational materials that it produces.

Educational materials have to be updated regularly, so printing them in the traditional way is not always viable. "In some sub-disciplines the information changes rapidly, and it is not profi table to output editions that will last for several years all in one go," says WSOY Oppimateriaalit Oy's Manager Arto Karppinen.

Print-on-demand also makes it easier to introduce new teaching materials. It allows test editions of new material to be run off in quantities that are precisely as small as necessary.

"A group testing out new educational material might be no more than the size of a single school class." The speed of print-on-demand means making changes is easy. Reprints can be taken quickly because the print-on-demand material is archived in electronic form. Print-on-demand suits companies of all sizes. For example, leaflets and brochures can be printed on demand.

The publications to be printed can be personalised to suit the customer's requirements, or coded for delivery. Print-on-demand can also be combined with traditional offset printing. The inside pages of a book can be printed and given a traditional hard cover in small amounts, too, as the situation requires.


Print-on-demand is eco-friendly, since it uses only the necessary amount of paper, and requires no printing plates. The binding is often done automatically, straight after the printing. Adopting print-on-demand require no special measures from the company.

The digital printing technology used in print-on-demand does not yet achieve such high quality as traditional printing technology, but the gap is narrowing all the time.

Arto Karppinen believes that WSOY will be relying on print-on-demand more in the future. Since print volumes are reduced, print-on-demand is a cost-effective way of getting materials printed.
"It appears that the volume of traditional printing will fall slightly. The trend is for more titles, but printed in small amounts."

Hansaprint Direct Oy* has been using digital printing technology since 1994.

Hansaprint Direct Oy printed 1.4 million books in 2007. Developments in Internet shopping also open up new dimensions for book printers' and book publishers' business operations. The development of digital printing and the increased difficulty of predicting the demand for books have created a call for print-on-demand, and for benefitting from the concept of 'virtual warehousing'. Added to that, advanced digital printing technology has lightened cost structures for small production runs, and hence reduced the size of economically viable print volumes. New developments are increasing the number of available titles and extending a book's lifespan.

* formerly Tummavuoren kirjapaino, Dark Ltd.