Partners to publishers!

Nutech Print Services was recently in news for acquiring Baba Barkha Nath Printers, who are well known printers for the publishing industry. Here, Ravi Shroff, MD, Nutech Print Services shares the ins and outs of the book printing business. We have a capacity to produce 20,000- 30,000 books on an average every day, shares Ravi Shroff, managing director, Nutech Print Services. In order to cater to more black-and-white publishing jobs, the company has recently taken over Baba Barkha Nath Printers, with Timmy Kuthiala, former managing director at Baba Barkha Nath Printers, joining as the vice-president of operations at Nutech Print Services. “At Nutech, 70-80 percent output is 4-colour while Baba Barkha Nath catered to the black-andwhite segment and they had a set of very good clients in the book publishing segment. As such, it was a total synergistic acquisition. We took many months to work out the deal,” told Ravi.

As a matter of fact, the equipment at Baba Barkha Nath was not a part of the deal. “Some of the employees at Baba Barkha Nath are being absorbed in Nutech,” added Ravi. Baba Barkha Nath Printers is a 37-year-old company, which initially started with a phototypesetting machine. They have been one of the leading book printers in India.

The print jobs…

With a four decade legacy, Nutech Print Services offers prepress, press and finishing facilities to the publishing industry and commercial jobs to corporates. With the help of their 300-plus workforce across their plant in Ballabgarh (Delhi-NCR) and sales & admin office in New Delhi, they can produce any trim size, be it monochrome or high-end colour printing. Their mix of work runs from basic one-colour paperback to high-end 4-colour coffee table/ children's books, school text books, dictionaries, colouring books, travel guides, calendars, bible printing on 28 gsm paper and much more with finishing facilities including soft- and hardcover binding.

Their press installation include 8-colour press, four 4-colour presses, and four single colour machines to meet all kinds of production requirements. On asking about the publishing vs. commercial business, Ravi replied that 80 percent of their job is for book publishing while 20 percent is for other commercial jobs like marketing collaterals. The ratio of domestic vs export business is 40:60 for them. “We are aiming at an equal balance. Exports jobs are very demanding as expectations remain very high,” shared Ravi.

Popular sizes of books…

There are three popular sizes of books – A4, B-format and crown size. “The majority publishing work is in A4 and B-format. Most of the textbook publishers are now going for standardisation towards A4 format, which also gets them better pricing,” shared Ravi.

Consumables used…

Nutech uses both indigenous as well as imported paper, of which 70 percent consumption is of indigenous paper. They use Bible, uncoated, coated paper high bulk paper, etc. “It is more comfortable to work with foreign paper mills as most of them have a three months validity for their paper prices, which is not seen in India, but the long delivery times makes it difficult to use more Foreign paper,” told Ravi. Another important consumable is ink/varnishes and Ravi always uses quality inks from world leaders Toyo and Sakata.

Trends in print runs…

With the print runs decreasing in the publishing segment, what is the trend Ravi sees? “The print runs for fiction is coming down as publishers want to print less, test market it and then place the second run. They do not wish to stock excess printed copies and pulp unsold copies in the end,” told Ravi.

“Similarly, the print runs of dictionaries and reference books has come down drastically. This is because such information is easily available online,” he added. But, there is a silver lining. “The print runs in education segment (K- 12 segment) is going high, increasing at a rate of 10-12 percent every year,” he told. Reprints are more in education segment. “Computer books are frequently updated and have a low shelf life while medical books have an average shelf life of 4-5 years,” he added. With publishing houses going for In order to cater to more black-and-white publishing jobs, the company has recently taken over Baba Barkha Nath Printers, with Timmy Kuthiala, former managing director at Baba Barkha Nath Printers, joining as the vice-president of operations at Nutech Print Services. “At Nutech, 70-80 percent output is 4-colour while Baba Barkha Nath catered to the black-and-white segment and they had a set of very good clients in the book publishing segment. As such, it was a total synergistic acquisition. We took almost 1.5 years to work out the deal,” told Ravi. digital printing, is Nutech also looking at this aspect? “Not at the moment…we feel there is already excess capacity in Digital and the cost being offered by printers is not viable. Also there are many small vendors who are efficiently giving economical solutions to the publishers. So right now, we wish to focus on our core business,” answered Ravi as a matter of fact.

On challenges…

“The cost of labour is growing high, and efficiencies are not improving as they should. Besides, there is stiff competition in this field,” told Ravi. But, he believes that their strengths have helped them face all odds. “We are a solution provider and not just a printer. Our customers are loyal repeat customers as we try to give them a full solution on time. We are a professionallyrun company and we have very good quality of manpower across all levels - Which I believe can be a great differentiator,” shared Ravi.

On competition with Chinese printing…

Though printing industry seems to be facing stiff competition from Chinese printing industry, Ravi has a different opinion. “China is a container pusher. Not every publisher wants container jobs. Few publishers are looking for small to medium runs - Here, India’s role comes into play. Besides, Indians have an obvious advantage in being fully conversant in English language. One should know ones advantage and try to focus on it,” told Ravi.

Future plans…

“India is a huge geographical region and feel many times opportunity exists for print runs to be split, basis delivery requirements. We wish to have our presence in down South and are open to have an understanding with a printer in South - so work can be shared and produced in South,” concluded Ravi.

Group Publications