The Changing Face of UK Printing

October 5th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Changing Face of UK Printing
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Getting ready to fold...

Martin the Printers is a family run business whose history starts in 1892 and has been dedicated to book publishing since the 1950’s.  They deal with many publishers both large and small, and deal on a global basis.  David Martin gave an enthusiastic talk about the changing nature of UK printing, ranging from the economics of the Euro to environmental awareness.

Since January, the staff at Martins’ have been collectively working for 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.  The demise of the euro has made it cheaper for publishers to use UK based printers.  Costs in the Far East have risen by 50% over the last 18 months, particularly in China and India where a lot of publishers placed their work. Another advantage the UK printing market has over foreign competition is time.  It can take 12 weeks for a book to be printed and shipped back to the UK from overseas.  At Martin the Printers they are now able to complete a print run in 5 days, quite handy when a book is flying off the shelves and more are needed quickly.  This turnaround was really impressive especially when they used to be given 7-8 weeks to print a book.  This means that the UK can now be more competitive and a lot more work is being placed here.

At Martins they have an impressive approach to their Environmental Policy.  By weight they recycle 98% of their waste and reuse products where they can.  They are FSC accredited (Forestry Stewardship Council) and all paper used is approved by them.

Near the end of the talk we were set into groups and given a huge sheet of paper with pages from a book printed on it.  This when folded, becomes one section of a book.  Our task was to fold this paper so the pages were in a consecutive order.  After many false attempts David took pity on us and instructed us how to do it.  Once all sections of a book are together, then the book can be bound.  The spine is glued and then sent to a trimmer to be shingled into neat edges.  At Martins they do four styles of book binding.

I don’t think any of us were quite expecting how interesting paper could be.  This is in no doubt due to David’s own infectious enthusiasm for the topic.  For example when a paperback turns yellow in the sun, it’s because of the poor quality of pulp in the paper.

David left us with a great bit of advice, “Enjoy What You Do,” which he clearly does.

By Aileen-Elizabeth Taylor