Canon Idea Challenge 2021

Transform the printed book through sustainable innovation

Background information

About Canon

Canon Europe is the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) strategic headquarters of Canon Inc., a global provider of imaging technologies and services. Canon Europe has operations in around 120 countries, with approximately 13,300 employees and contributes to about a quarter of Canon’s global revenues annually.

Founded in 1937, the desire to continuously innovate has kept Canon at the forefront of imaging excellence throughout its 80-plus year history. That desire remains as strong as ever today, demonstrated by Canon’s commitment to invest and capture growth opportunities not only in its core businesses, such as office equipment and cameras, but also in the four businesses that will underpin Canon’s future: commercial printing, network cameras, medical and industrial equipment.

Canon has a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’. In EMEA, Canon Europe pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs by using Canon’s products, solutions and services.

Within its extensive portfolio, Canon develops and manufactures high-tech, digital production printing products and workflow software for the commercial and in-house printing and publishing markets. These products range from continuous-feed and cut-sheet inkjet printing systems and electrophotographic toner printers to large format, roll-to-roll and flatbed printers for graphics, computer-aided design (CAD), geographic information system (GIS) and photographic applications. More recently, industrial label printers for self-adhesive labels and selected flexible packaging applications have been added to the portfolio.

With the most comprehensive hardware, software and service portfolio in the industry, we offer our customers the best digital printing solutions specifically designed to meet their and their clients´(e.g. book publishers) needs.

The book market

An important and growing application area for our digital print technology is the production of books.

Books are an integral aspect of life for people everywhere. Whether in print or digital form, books are key to providing knowledge, promoting cultural diversity, stimulating imagination, improving reading, writing and speaking skills, as well as boosting memory and education.

The book market today looks very different from the way it looked 40 years ago. The digital revolution changed the way books are published, bought and consumed, disrupting traditional business models. And the book industry continues to be in a state of transition, one that has left its mark on all the stakeholders in the book ecosystem: authors, publishers, print service providers (PSPs), distributors, wholesalers, retailers, libraries and readers.

The business with printed books looks promising for publishers. The fear of print-lovers that printed books would be consigned to history by digital media has proved to be unfounded. Consumers´ love and demand for physical books remains strong and that applies not only to new frontlist titles but also to backlist titles that have been on the market for more than a year.

But the economics of book print production is changing fundamentally. Analogue offset print production methods, which were ideal when publishers were producing large volumes of single titles, are becoming increasingly ineffective in response to the rising demand for shorter print runs and on-demand printing in a more volatile market space.

Digital printing solutions enable the streamlined and highly efficient printing and finishing of books in small batches or even single copies. For this size of print job, digital printing offers many economical and sustainability benefits compared to analogue printing processes: chemical-free and printing-plate-free production, less ozone and noise emissions. However, the reduction of paper waste offers the greatest scope for savings, since it represents 60–90% of the cost and CO2 emissions of a print job. Paper provides by far the biggest opportunity for shrinking a print job’s carbon foot print.

This technological change is encouraging book publishers and book printers to look differently at their ways of working. Using digital print solutions, book printers can offer their publishing clients new services, such as more dynamic, data-driven book life cycle management, highly flexible on-demand printing and global decentralized on-demand printing.

At the same time, however, with sustainability now a topic of global concern for individuals, businesses and governments, we’re hearing publishers, printers and consumers starting to question how sustainable printed books are.

We don’t want to paint a false picture – printed books do consume resources. But let’s also be positive – there are undoubtedly ways to make the printed book more sustainable from an environmental, economic, cultural and social perspective. We want that to happen, but we need your help to achieve it, so – adopting Canon’s philosophy of Kyosei – let’s work together for the common good to find ways to make printed books more sustainable.

Inspiration to develop your ideas

On Canon’s website there are a number of articles that may provide some inspiration for an idea. Here are some examples that may spark some creativity:

The status of the book industry

Topics like data security, audiobooks and self-publishing have changed the industry considerably in past years. And in a still booming industry where copyright is clearly defined, there are new opportunities for print service providers as publishers are looking for a reliable business partner for book printing. You can read more about these trends here .

Printing technology:

Canon already has technology to make book production much more sustainable. Find out about the environmental benefits of inkjet technology to learn how we help print service providers do that. This video gives you an idea of how one of our book printer customers uses the technology.

Sustainability at Canon

Canon has already addressed the lifecycle of a book. You can read about how Canon is committed to the ethos of Kyosei and what this has to do with CO2 savings.

Books and communities

Books can be sold more easily by finding the right target group and then using the right platform to promote the right books to the right people. Perhaps sustainability could also be promoted by communities ?

Exclusivity

Learn more about how exclusivity can offer opportunities for new growth for publishers, authors, and artists.

Using new technologies:

Technologies are helpful to enrich and distribute content and to print it on demand. Perhaps books need to be more dynamic? The publishing industry can gain a lot of advantages by integrating a digital mindset and new technologies into their business.