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Ricoh digital print technology drives world’s first print on demand newsstand

Thursday, 18 July 2013
By Leon Spencer

Ricoh digital printing technology is standing at the centre of what is being touted as the world’s first print on demand magazine newsstand, Meganews Magazines, which kicked off commercial operation in Sweden on 19 June.

Meganews Magazines is essentially an unmanned newspaper and magazine vending machine with internet access that prints, in real-time, a copy of the magazine a customer has selected. The magazines are purchased ​​through screens on the kiosk and the customer pays by credit card.

It only takes two minutes from making the purchase before a freshly printed magazine drops down the hatch.

Meganews has launched in Sweden the first worldwide newspaper and magazine kiosk, based on Ricoh print on demand technology,” said Benoit Chatelard, Ricoh’s general manager of Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA, at a digital book printing forum in London during late June. “It is designed to be rolled out in shopping malls and other public areas. The kiosk allows you to choose between 200 titles, pay by credit card and get it printed in less than two minutes on the spot.”

The Swedish journalist and TV profile Lars Adaktusson, his brother Hans and their company Meganews Sweden came up with the idea. Behind the software, the card terminal and the screens is the technology consultant company Sweco. The industry design company LA + B has designed the newsstand. Perhaps most importanty, Ricoh’s digital colour cutsheet technology provided the on-demand, high quality colour printing.

While this is certainly not the first time digital printing technology has been used for the production of one-off or small batch on-demand newspaper and magazine publications, it is claimed that the system is the first vending machine-style set up of its kind in the world.

According to Ricoh and Meganews, the new kiosks look set to reduce publishers’ costs for distribution and logistics. The companies expect that, by printing on demand at the consumer’s location, publishers will save around 10 per cent of their costs.

They also claim the new system is more environmentally friendly as it saves on transportation, with about 60 per cent less emissions of fossil greenhouse gases generated during the life cycle of a magazine printed in a Meganews kiosk compared to a magazine printed and distributed in the traditional way – according to a survey conducted by the research institute Innventia on behalf of Meganews Magazines.

It is claimed that the reason for this is that 40 per cent of the traditional journals never get sold, must be returned and go directly to recycling facilities.

Meganews is conducting a six-month trial of the new magazine vending system, with particular emphasis on establishing strategic locations for the automatic kiosks, including supermarkets, an airport, hotels, resorts and even a hospital.

On its company website, Meganews said:

In today’s world it is imperative for print publishers to reach new readers and find new means of distribution. We discern an increasing interest for our proposed internet-based kiosk concept, from merchandisers as well as publishers.

Our research has revealed that the most suitable conditions for our concept are in locations lacking publications for sale – where new mini markets can be created. 

This is made possible by our cooperation with one of the world’s leading printing companies – Japanese Ricoh, who has become a key partner.

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