Costa winner lauds advantages of UK printing

The editor of the winning book at the Costa Book Awards last week praised the benefits of printing in the UK on Radio 4’s You & Yours program, including a shout-out for long-term supplier Imprint Digital.

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey won the Costa Novel Award and won the Complete Book of the Year. It is published by Leeds-based independent publisher Peepal Tree Press, which specializes in Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry and non-fiction.

Hannah Bannister, Operations Manager at Peepal Tree Press, told You & Yours, “It was amazing. We locked the book, and after doing what for us was actually a pretty big run of 5,000 copies. “

She described the “nasty panic” as Bookstores then had to close. The publisher regrouped and instead began selling the book online.

“Since yesterday [11 March] We sent 24,000 copies – it’s like someone took all of our numbers and added zeros to them, ”she said.

Bannister said the publisher’s longstanding relationship with its printing supplier helped it meet demand.

“We always print in the UK so we haven’t had any supply chain issues related to Brexit or Covid. We have a fantastic printer in Imprint Digital that prints on a small farm in the southwest. “

Peepal Tree Press is Imprint Digital’s oldest customer.

Imprint digitally printed the first batch of 10,000 copies of the paperback before doing an extended litho production at Ashford Color Press, which was needed to meet demand due to the Costa profit.

Keith Sutherland, director of Imprint Digital, said he was absolutely delighted with the book’s success.

“Peepal Tree is Imprint Digital’s oldest and most loyal customer. This loyalty is a result of the service we offer. On this and similar titles, reprints of 1,000 arrive in the morning and ship in the afternoon. Of course, the unit costs are higher than traditional offset printing, but by minimizing inventory and risk, there are significant savings, ”he explained.

The paperback has French flaps, which is a popular choice with Imprint’s customers.

“I believe we have the only Horizon BQ470 in the country with the necessary accessories,” added Sutherland.

The masthead is in the countryside north of Exeter. The company has sales of around GBP 1 million and employs 10 people in a mix of full and part time positions.

The list of works includes two Canon Varioprint 6000 digital printing machines, Ricoh and Konica Minolta, a digital sheet metal kit and a raft finishing kit for PUR and cardboard binding.

Peepal Tree Press typically publishes around 20 books a year. Bannister just received review copies for the upcoming summer book release Fortune from Amanda Smyth.