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Independent Publishers Group Tackles the Complexities of Short-Run Publishing Demands with the Power of Conveyance


March 25, 2021 – As one of the oldest and largest book distributors in the country with more than 1,000 small to mid-size book publishers to service, Independent Publishers Group (IPG), a Canon Solutions America, Inc. customer, is no stranger to the intricacies and high demands of short-run manufacturing needs. Since its recent implementation of Canon Conveyance software, IPG has not only been able to optimize its digital manufacturing workflow, it also has been able to double its output and reduce overall costs. Introduced in April 2020, Conveyance is an automated workflow tool developed by Canon Solutions America, Inc., to help customers boost high-volume, short-run production.

Working with a lot of small publishers can mean a lot of complexity, and it is crucial to have a workflow solution that caters to a large variety of short-run demands. Adding the Conveyance software to its workflow has helped IPG to maximize their manufacturing and print workflow and codify the complexity of the operation into the software. The software has also helped them better support a variety of paper stocks, trim sizes, and volume and content intricacies as it offers customized solutions to its majority of small publishing clients. 

“Since the addition of Conveyance to IPG’s print workflow, we have been able to boost production levels, reduce turnaround times, and increase profit margins across a wide range of applications,” said Clark Matthews, chief technology officer. “When you work with small publishers, you don’t have just two paper stocks like some of our competitors; you have eight. You don’t support six or ten trim sizes; you support every trim size. Eccentricity and lack of standards is par for the course. It’s not just ordering volume that’s smaller, it’s not just content and ideas that are differently represented, it’s the actual physical material of the book itself that becomes long tail.”

ipg 50 years logo

Further reflecting the keen understanding of the complexities of supporting small publishers, Matthews said, “Small publishers need small runs, and their demands can vary based on their particular audiences, subculture and season. With Conveyance, we can support those complexities with ease and we can go from printing a book of one to a book of 1,000 units at a time. Prior to finding and implementing Conveyance, I found myself trying to write software for five different printers that needed to run eight different papers on something like 15 or 20 different trim sizes, and a lot of it was book of one. It was incredibly difficult and time consuming without workflow. What IPG saw in Conveyance was an opportunity to really get the business rules down and codify the complexity of the operation into the software, and we did so.”

image of computer using software

While many businesses and organizations were left wondering what the future held for them and their customers as a result of COVID-19, IPG remained diligent and confident in their technology and workflow. By maximizing assets and offerings to help continue servicing their clients as efficiently as possible, IPG further established themselves as a reliable source for their customers’ various finishing needs. 

“At a time when our customers needed us most, we are grateful to have had such a successful workflow to be able to quickly and effectively meet their variable print needs with the added benefit of greater flexibility in finishing,” said Matthews. “It’s allowed us to cut out unnecessary steps and processes on our end. We are grateful to have the ability to respond to changing market needs during such a critical time for our customers.”

With the added power and reliability of its Canon ColorStream inkjet press, IPG stays competitive in today’s business environment by offering an extensive range of applications at higher speed and faster turnaround times. Through its unique combination of efficiency, flexibility and quality, this inkjet press simplifies and accelerates the transition from monochrome to full-color or even 5 or 6 colors. This combination makes it one of the most versatile and productive inkjet web presses on the market.

“Especially in 2020, with the onset of the coronavirus, basic supply chain was in increased demand. With our inventory of Canon technology we were able to take care of a lot of our small publishers who were struggling,” said Matthews. “With our ColorStream press, we were able to make inroads on offset replacement. When I had a publisher that needed 5,000 units printed offset, we were able to be that offset replacement by printing it on the inkjet press with quicker turnaround time.” 

“Conveyance is an integral tool in incorporating automated simplicity into book manufacturing and short-run publishing,” said Francis McMahon, executive vice president, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America, Inc. "We pride ourselves on introducing our customers to innovative technology and support solutions that will help them expand their offerings. We are very excited to have our production inkjet presses and Conveyance workflow solutions with one of leading book manufacturers in the industry, IPG.”

For more information on how Conveyance software helps our customers lead in the short-run production space, please visit pps.csa.canon.com/Conveyance.

About Independent Publishers Group (IPG)

In June of 2021, IPG will celebrate its 50th anniversary. As the original North American distributor, IPG was founded specifically to represent titles from independent publishers to the book trade. IPG remains committed to reimagining distribution, and has grown to provide its publishers with services ranging from pre-publication consultation, global sales, marketing and publicity, supply chain, print and digital distribution, data and reporting, to print brokerage. IPG’s success has come from supporting and encouraging the growth of its publishing partners in the United States and worldwide. IPG was acquired by Chicago Review Press in 1987, and this acquisition formed the parent company Chicago Review Press, Inc., which now owns Chicago-based indie publishers Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books.

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