Textbook printing in Bangladesh moves to web offset

Bangladesh printers likely to visit Printpack 2019

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web offset

After independence, Bangladesh did not inherit any developed infrastructure of printing equipment. However, there were quite a few printing presses running at that time mainly using single color second hand sheetfed offset presses. Even in the 1990’s, much of the text book printing was based on aid programs from western countries which also supplied the paper for printing books. Bangladesh has had to face difficulties that are typical to any developing nation and these challenges extended to many of its educational institutions although many new and interesting educational, cultural and social organizations came up and have grown.

In the last couple of decades the publishing and printing industries have grown quickly. More than 3 lakh people are now engaged in the printing sector in Bangladesh. Development of infrastructure and technology along with the installation of some of the latest machinery from leading multi-national printing equipment manufacturers are modernizing this sector and making it grow day-by-day.

With increase in literacy and new government initiatives to promote education among all, the school and college textbook printing industry in the country is showing healthy growth. The uncoated offset paper for printing the text pages for books is increasing produced in Bangladesh, while art paper and heavier cover stocks are often imported from various countries including Japan and India.

As the print runs increase and more text pages of the school books are printed in full color, the printing has largely shifted to web offset presses imported from India. At the last Printpack exhibition in Greater Noida in 2017, a large number of newspaper and book printers from Bangladesh visited the show and several placed orders that have led to installations in the last couple of years. A majority of the textbooks printed for the government schools are now being printed on web offset presses many of which consist of a 4-HI tower and a folder with quarter folder.

As newspaper and textbook production in Bangladesh seems to be growing, it seems likely that another strong delegation of book and newspaper printers will visit the Printpack India 2019 exhibition from 1 to 6 February 2019 at the Expo Centre in Greater Noida. u

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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