Nutech consistent presence at international book fairs

Regular at London, Frankfurt & Bologna Children’s Book Fairs

Ravi Shroff, managing director Nutech Print Services at the Nutech stall at Ghana Book Fair. Photo Nutech Print Services

Book fairs are a great way to present yourself to the world, believes Ravi Dev Shroff, managing director of Nutech Print Services. An exporter since 2004, the commercial and specialized book printer has participated in three or four overseas book fairs each year since 2005. A regular at the Frankfurt, London, and Bologna book fairs, Nutech adds one or two other countries each year, depending on its market focus such as the Liber International Book Exhibition in Spain. Thus far, it has taken part in the Bologna and London book fairs this year.

In the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and the initial lockdowns of book shops and schools, there was an apprehension, if not a belief, that books will eventually disappear due to the popularity of eBooks and audio formats. However, with the recent opening of schools across the country that belief has been upended and the consensus is emphatic for both the need and demand for printed books. Shroff says, “There is still a large market that demands printed books. Readers want to feel the physical roughness of the paper in their hands, they want to smell the book, and in their absence, they miss the off-white tones of the book paper. Many readers say it doesn’t feel the same when they swipe the pages on a tablet. For them, reading is all about getting lost in the immersive experience that a physical book offers.”


At the London Book Fair, Nutech saw a huge resumption of demand with most publishers very positive about where the future for books is. In each segment that Nutech works in and supplies to, its customers see strong demand for books printed in India. Shroff explains, “A very strong theme that is emerging is the need for people to look beyond China for suppliers. For a long time, China has had the lion’s share in the printed book exports segment. Like Indians, Chinese printers also have products at varying price points. Different factories produce a variety of grades based on the market needs.”

“Many customers we interacted with, brought this up and were straightforward about wanting a second base, and India could be this alternative. This is why we are very positive about the future demand and are gearing up accordingly. We received numerous orders at the recently held London and Bologna book exhibitions.”

Overseas book printing markets

Shroff says that if you are serious about exports, it is very important to understand the needs of overseas markets. “Firstly, your quality focus should be very strong. If you are there in the international market, it is assumed that you will deliver a quality of the highest standard. Secondly, you have to be very consistent in terms of schedules. Most of the international markets are very evolved and their publishing schedules are worked out months ahead of time. Slots are given at the warehouse a month in advance as to when the book has to reach the warehouse.

“Thirdly, if you are serious about book exports you need to consistently present yourself at the fairs. When people see you there a couple of times, that is when they show interest in working with you. They are not interested in working with someone who comes one year and then goes missing. A lot of sampling will be requested by customers, so investment needs to be made in free sampling and sending couriers and these are costs that you have to accept if you want to be a part of the business.”

“Lastly, it is very important to understand that you represent India. One bad print job is a blemish on the print industry of the whole country. Many times, the challenge for us is not selling ourselves as a good printer, the challenge is saying that this bad experience of yours that happened with another printer is a one-off and will not happen with us. We are very strongly focused on books and are sometimes offered projects that we are not comfortable taking on. We are offered the opportunity to print greeting cards, posters, and stationery, but we don’t touch these. We want to make sure that if anybody talks about Nutech, they talk about us in a highly positive way, and that’s why we have customers who swear by us,” proudly adding that 90% of the company’s orders are from repeat customers.

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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