Meet the Autumn Conference Supporter: Xpedient Book Print
A Q&A with printing services specialist and IPG Autumn Conference supporter Xpedient
1. How can you help independent publishers become better businesses in 2020?
As a print sales rep I used to get a commission for the print that I sold. It’s the same with all sales reps you deal with today—but there were issues for me with customer relationship and trust. The machinery we had in our plant was not always suitable for the print that I was selling, and I knew customers could do better elsewhere. That was the driver for me to set up Xpedient Book Print more than 20 years ago, so that I could help publishers get the best out of their print.
So, the key to producing top-quality books, getting the best prices for short or long runs, having the flexibility of format sizing, printing mono or colour, binding paperback or hardback is simple: you need to be running the right job on the right printing press.
I won’t bore you with the complexities of print, but what publishers should know is that there are so many printers out there with different equipment who are just looking for any job they can get their hands on. With changing needs and quantities and formats, you could end up needing several printers with different equipment for the whole range of your work to be effective. As you can imagine, many people just end up sticking with one printer as it’s less hassle—but that often comes with compromises to quality and cost without them even realising it.
So that’s where we are totally different: we have partnerships with printers that cover all print production across the UK, Europe and the Far East, allowing us to offer the best solutions for every type of book print, every time. That gives you the confidence that you’ll always get the best results at the best price delivered to your schedule.
It doesn’t matter which process is being used or where: the UK, the Far East, digital, web, Europe, inkjet, hardback… you will only ever have one point of contact: us. We provide great communication and ongoing support to uphold the exceptional customer service that we are known for. So, bringing it back to the question, how can we help independent publishers become better businesses? With no affiliation with any one printer and access to every conceivable type of printing press, we can help you get the most out of your print by guaranteeing quality at a more affordable price.
It’s starting my own business years ago that has allowed me to do this. Rather than the sales rep’s priority—filling a printing press to get commission—my priority now is making sure that customers get exactly what they need.
2. Beyond the coronavirus crisis, what is the biggest issue and the biggest opportunity in your part of the publishing world at the moment?
The print industry has had some major challenges over the last decade, including the recession, the move to ebooks, paper supply and currency fluctuation. As you can imagine, this current situation couldn’t have come at a worse time either. Printers are suffering from a drop in demand that is adding to the burden, and some aren’t going to survive.
One thing that has always stood us in great stead, however—and to our customers too—is flexibility. Even without this current situation and previous challenges, the market is changing all of the time: printers and sales reps come and go, and machines get updated. When currency fluctuates, sometimes the Far East is best priced, and sometimes Europe or the UK. Whatever changes that happen in the market, our clients still benefit from the consistency of having one point of contact, great service and access to all plants and machinery. This means that we can always offer them the opportunity to get the best quality at the best price, delivered on time.
Whatever changes come, we can adapt to be effective. Not all printers can do this, so flexibility is our biggest opportunity.
3. What are you most looking forward to about the IPG's virtual Autumn Conference?
As a small team, we have built and grown our whole business through word of mouth referrals. Many of these great relationships have started from meeting new people at The London Book Fair or The Frankfurt Book Fair (both fantastic events), so that’s what we are looking forward to most.
The IPG is a new step for us so we are keen to meet all of the members, some for the very first time, and we hope to start forging some new and exciting relationships.
Visit the Xpedient Book Print website.