New animated learning videos for children by Aadarsh

Technology and automation drive book printing

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Children's books published by Aadarsh. Photo IPP
Children's books published by Aadarsh. Photo IPP

Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd. in Bhopal publishes the Purple Turtle series of children’s books. These are supplied to about 25 countries, including the US, China, some European countries, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Published in multiple languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati and English, Purple Turtle started as an imprint around which titles and stories were created. Currently Aadarsh is focussing on creating an animated video series for children.

Animated show focussed on children

“It is going to be a series of 52 episodes, each 7 minutes long. A co-production of companies in the US, Ireland, France and India, we are the lead producers. We hired the best and most experienced talent in the world to produce the scripts. The script writers are Emmy Award winners. The music is being lent by an Emmy Award winning music company from LA. The voice-over post production is done by Telegael based in Ireland. Cyber Group Studios in France are the co-producers and distributors. We do a lot of work in-house and outsource a part of animated content also,” says Manish Rajoria, director of Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd.

Other than this, the company publishes CBSE curriculum textbooks for classes 1 to 8. It has an author servicing program wherein it offers self-publishing services. In November 2018, Aadarsh won ‘The Most Innovative Printing Company’ award. A pioneer in producing talking books in the country, the company has registered its name in the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records for producing these.

Talking books and smart books for children

“Talking books is a simple technology. We print these books with different techniques. A talking pen is used and when you point the pen at the book, it reads out the text as printed. We’re also producing some smart books. Since augmented reality is a costly technology to implement, unless you have huge volumes to supply, it doesn’t work out. Companies which are being funded or are large will be able to afford these kinds of projects. Though it is expensive, it is extremely interesting for children to learn.

“We have done a simpler version of augmented reality wherein we have an app called Purple Turtle Smart Books. We choose a book and we say scan. The moment we scan, the content printed in the text book starts playing on the mobile application. Similarly, we have some activities for children through this app which can enhance the learning experience. We are experts of pre-school content and these books are focussed on pre-school learning only,” shares Rajoria.

Automation in postpress

Using sheetfed and web offset presses along with a strong postpress and finishing setup, Aadarsh has hard bound machines, machines for section sewing, center stitching and perfect binding for book production. There is also a strong design and prepress section with CtPs.

Talking about the importance of automation in postpress, Rajoria says, “Gone are the days when one had 200 employees for postpress work. Now, unless one has strong automated postpress, one may not be able to do quality binding and the volumes cannot be achieved either. Printing is easy, but binding is difficult. If you have a strong postpress, it makes your work all the more easier and allows you to produce books more accurately with a good quality finish.”

The company has a Kolbus case-maker, casing-in machines, section-sewing machines, multi-clamp perfect binders and saddle stitching machines. Rajoria says that he thinks that a lot of automation has already come to India and hardly any company would fail to realize its importance. “If the print volume is 1 lakh books a day, one cannot do without the automated setup. It’s already there and the future is here. After we chose to automate our postpress, the quality improved, volumes increased and product appearance also improved. In pressroom, on the sheetfed offset side, we have Mitsubishi, Komori and Heidelberg. The last machine we purchased was a sheetfed – Komori Lithrone 429 – in 2017.”

FY 2018-19 was good for the company with solid growth. Rajoria says that digital will be interesting for his company looking at its wide client base and he is hoping to start this division soon.

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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