Traditional book sewing’s superior construction strength, layflat performance, and quality have long established it as the binding of choice for textbooks and yearbooks, as well as such high-end genres as reference books, cookbooks, and religious texts. But, until recently, book sewing was only possible with offset production, thereby limiting its potential for variability and customization.
But the times are changing. Digital sewing solutions that can process sheet-fed products have arrived. Essentially, a digital sewing machine can now fold sheets into signatures, collect them in the sewer, and then sew them, offering an opportunity for upmarket variable data printing (VDP) products that contain varying thicknesses and/or content.
This game-changing development has been further enhanced by the Ventura Digital MC’s sewing machine’s ability to process a B2 size sheet which is the standard sheet size coming off most digital presses. This means that products can be transferred directly from the digital print engine to the sewer without any time-consuming interim handling. And, since the Ventura Digital creates a sewn bookblock right from a sheet, there’s opportunity for a considerable amount of product customization.
This year, Muller Martini will also offer a digital sewing solution for roll-fed products, one that will greatly minimize blank pages—an unwanted and costly problem for many photobook purchasers. This solution will be able to digitally print roll to roll and then finish roll-to-sewn bookblocks. Some customers, depending upon their internal processes, will find this a more attractive and efficient method as opposed to going sheet fed.
These exciting developments will also enable the introduction of specialty inserts or gatefolds, previously not possible in thread sewn products. So not only can books be customized, quality sewn products can now include a standout, differentiating feature that further engage readers—and allow book manufacturers to offer their customers new product possibilities.