Real books are evolving: variable print for education

What's the biggest digital print opportunity? Direct mail? Magazines? Catalogues? Brochures? Books....? Recent research published by Xerox suggests that between 2017 and 2022, 31.3 billion additional impressions can be expected for the book printing market - more than double that for the other sectors.

First Copy - Variable Print for Education

So we'd better cancel the funeral, because printed books aren't dead! Despite regular warnings that the humble book will soon be confined to history, stats from Nielsen BookScan suggest that the UK market grew 2.1% in value and 0.3% in volume last year. The Bookseller suggested this was up £34m and 627,000 books compared to 2017. The evidence is that eBooks and 'real' books are on the up.

To the writer of this blog, this isn't really surprising. Digital absolutely has a (growing) place at the table, but handling a physical book is a totally different experience. It's quite a divergent thing to handle a tactile object with it's own textures - and even smells! - as opposed to looking at a screen. The research backs this up. 'Real' books have a way of helping you figure out problems and can even encourage readers to place more significance and trust on the knowledge the tomes contain.

As such, even though schools are using more digital resources, they still use plenty of traditional books. There are pros and cons to both physical and digital books, but the unique way students connect with physical books is one reason why books in classrooms are here to stay. So what can be done to combine the benefits of a workbook with the flexibility of digital media? The world of digital printing has some suggestions, and, as it turns out, they are really quite clever...

How about personalising the very item that helps us concentrate, to make it relevant on an individual level? Mass-produced texts but with a customisable, print-on-demand approach. So in an education context, schools could:

  • manage costs at the same time as controlling and updating the educational content (replacing text as science moves forward or the curriculum changes, for example)

  • avoid the need for photocopying worksheets by inserting variable perforation tear-out sheets in workbooks - meaning everything can be in colour

  • customise content for specific learning strategies

  • use specific colours for specific needs

  • control and in-source printing to be flexible with workbooks and print only what is needed when it's needed, preventing stock piles of redundant material


Which Xerox devices and software make this kind of flexibility possible?

  1. In-line variable perforation with a Xerox Rialto Inkjet Press

  2. XMPie software that can manage data, logic and templates

  3. Xerox FreeFlow Core to simplify and automate prepress

  4. In-line binding and finishing options

Find out more by contacting one of our specialists today!