By editor Morten B. Reitoft
I have always been wondering why all the web-to-print solutions I have checked out only have limited technical details on products such as print-technology, paper/substrates, enhancements, binding, etc. Depending on what print-technology you use, the paper is a considerable part of the total cost. Though some web-to-print solutions today offer simple imposition options, a paper database is not common.
Many solutions don't even "manage" paper as part of the product. Most of the solutions I have seen, the paper is treated as an additional option, which is kind of strange, since an integrated paper database would offer both printers and buyers tremendous advantages.
One advantage for a user would be to get weight and spine size. Weight for postage/shipping - and even an option to cross-reference for papers with lower weight/higher bulk. Spine size for designers to deliver correct files for print.
Both are very easy to calculate:
Weight: (Width in mm/1000 x Height in mm/1000)x(number of pages/2)x paper grammage. This will give you the weight in gram.
Spine size: (Number of pages/2) x (Thickness/1000) - and Voila, you have the thickness of your spine in mm.
If your web-to-print solution has a paper database, this would be extremely simple features with a tremendously high value. If a supplier doesn't want to add a paper-database but still adds the functionality, INKISH has developed www.paperdb.io where almost all paper in the world is available via a restful API.
If your web-to-print solution offer imposition, sheet sizes would be an important add-on. Bulk and grain direction are both important parameters in that equation, and it just emphasizes in my opinion how important it would be to add the data needed.
If you register/login to INKISH.TV, you can use our INKISH.CALC tool for free. INKISH.CALC is, in my opinion, an indispensable tool - so try it out if you like (you can access it in the menu next to the login/register button).
Adding paper to your web-to-print will also easily offer customers an upsell opportunity. Together with more technical data using your web-to-print solution with a JDF/XJDF workflow would be much simpler.