Baker Publishing Group and Digital Printing


Baker Publishing Group was founded in 1939 and is one of the world’s largest publishers of Christian Books. The company is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has six divisions. Each division features a unique segment of Christian publishing. It distributes its products to bookstores and other retail outlets around the world.

Digital Printing Arrives

Baker Publishing Group

Baker relied on traditional book printers to publish thousands of titles. They used conventional production methods — offset printing, long print runs, extended lead times, and extensive warehousing.

Then digital printing arrived. Baker addressed one of its biggest challenges — books with slower sales volume. Niche titles and older releases didn’t fit the traditional print production process. Too many copies had to be printed, they took up too much warehouse space, and the cost was too high.

The Problem

Baker investigated the possibility of on-demand digital printing. The company found that:

  • Its existing print vendor base was focused on offset and web printing.
  • Digital print vendors were far from Baker headquarters and wouldn’t change — they wanted Baker to adapt to their methods of order management, print production, distribution, and financial transaction.
  • The quality level of these digital print vendors was low.

Gilson’s Printing Solution

Gilson prints Baker promotional materials, so we were familiar with its business. As our digital capabilities became more sophisticated, we proactively devised an effective solution to Baker’s problem with slow-sales-volume titles.

We developed an efficient and economical approach to short-run book printing. Initially, we created a unique workflow that integrated both offset printing (for book covers) and digital printing (for interior text pages). Book covers were printed in small batches, placed into Gilson’s inventory and synchronized with digital book production via our Mindwire technology. The quality of the finished product was indistinguishable from books printed conventionally.

The Results

Baker was thrilled with the result. But we weren’t content to rest on our laurels. We’ve since upgraded our digital cover capabilities, enabling covers to be printed on demand — eliminating inventory and establishing an even more efficient production process.

Orders are coordinated to the carton space allowed by Baker’s fulfillment capacities, and finished books are delivered and integrated into their order process system. Custom bar-code labels provide consistency with other products in Baker’s inventory.

Thanks to Gilson, Baker no longer has to list any title as “out of print.” Thanks to Baker, Gilson has established a reputation as one of the nation’s foremost on-demand book printers.

Visit the Baker Publishing Group website to learn more about their publications and projects by clicking here.