Holy colophon, Batman! Rotolito provides comprehensive printing and finishing services to Titan Publishing Group Rotolito prints 250,000 books annually for the diversified UK publisher Titan Publishing Group. Let’s get to know them better: In a world where many publishers struggle to compete with other media, Titan Publishing Group has found success by producing interlinked books and magazines largely based on established and successful subjects from other media. With licences from many familiar film, television, video game and toy franchises, Titan’s portfolio includes weekly magazines; special, limited editions; books to accompany video games; trade and mass market paperbacks and the ever-popular “annuals” that link to just about every entertainment category. “Today, many of what would have been called ‘annuals’ are now linked to a specific series or a television show,” explains Kevin Wooff, Print & Paper Buyer for Titan Publishing Group. “So along with The Simpsons’ Annual 2015, we have, say, Battlestar Galactica – The Official Companion to Series 4, which complements the continued interest in these entertainment franchises which are kept alive through re-runs, satellite and cable channels, internet streaming and DVDs.” Titan’s stable of licensed titles covers a wide range of tastes and interests, and even transcends time with highly collectible books like, Aliens - Colonial Marines Technical Manual, The Avengers: A Celebration - 50 Years of a Television Classic, and Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, which contain a potpourri of information, photographs, illustrations and diagrams. Other “evergreen” favourites licensed for various purposes include Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Batman, Barbie and Sponge Bob. Achieving the right look and feel “In general, we classify these as ‘The Art of,’ ‘A Portrait of,’ and ‘A Companion to’ books,” said Wooff. “Our books are printed in various formats like A-format mass market size (174 x 108mm), B-format trade paperback (195 x 130mm) as well as other sizes for special editions, graphic novels or books where the pictures or artwork benefit from a particular design.” Apart from commissioning, designing and publishing these books, there is the business of getting them printed, bound and delivered, which is where Rotolito comes into the picture. “When I joined Titan seven years ago, it was already working with Rotolito” Woolf explained. “My previous job had been with an Italian publisher in Milan, so working with an Italian printer presented no real concerns. “Like all publishers, we look for print quality, price and reliability, and Rotolito has long-proved itself on those criteria,” Wooff continued. “We also look for input into printing and binding; the best papers and flexibility in production. Also, Rotolito prints the majority of annuals in Europe and understands the requirements of the market.” Titan and the state of the market When talking about book publishing in the current market, several questions recur: How do you cope with falling run lengths? How are you streamlining logistics? And, how are you dealing with declining book sales? “The nature of the books we publish means that demand is relatively steady,” Wooff said. “We introduce 30 – 40 new titles each year, and there’s no real ‘average run.’ It’s very much determined by the title and its destination. In general, for paperbacks, we tend to print between 3 – 20,000 copies – though Rotolito did a run of 135,000 for us this year. Otherwise, it’s more cost-effective for us to print lower runs and reprint to fulfil demand than it is to warehouse the extra copies.” A good example of this is the long-time favourite, How to Draw Comics the "Marvel" Way (Stan Lee), which Titan has reprinted more than 30 times since its first UK publication in 1986. “Because of its state of the art equipment and workflow systems, Rotolito can handle these shorter runs at a viable cost,” said Wooff. “We are then also able to streamline the operation by undertaking deliveries to major customers (notably major book chains and supermarkets) even though we have a comprehensive distribution contract with a supplier. In those situations, we still pay our fee to them, but the size of the delivery means it can be more economical to deliver it ourselves – and take on the associated paperwork as well.” At present, all Titan Publishing’s books produced at Rotolito are offset litho printed. “We’ve had discussions about using its digital colour inkjet web presses as well, especially as they are capable of handling the wide range of paper stocks used by Titan,” Wooff explained. “Rotolito would be able to offer whatever finishing we wanted whether the books are printed on offset litho or digital presses, so it’s something we continue to talk to them about. Production methods don’t really matter as long as the priorities of quality, price and reliability are met.” As for any concerns that the book market is declining: “Our markets have proved strong,” said Wooff. “Our fiction sales have been growing exponentially, and the tie-ins – books and magazines – and associated limited editions, and books to accompany games, have a pre-existing and expanding customer base that our publications and the brand owners can build on. It all adds value to the original experience of the films, TV shows, and games, by adding insights into the characters, technologies and art that has made them. “Delivering this added experience through all aspects of our books is what gives us our success,” Wooff concluded. “Rotolito is a big part of making that happen and they’re a good partner to work with.” About Titan Publishing Group Based in London, Titan Publishing Group is part of the Titan Entertainment Group. Established in 1981, the group has about 200 employee with sales and distribution offices in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, with agents in other countries.
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