Print-on-demand pioneer Blurb taken over by digital printing specialist Reischling Press

Blurb, one of the pioneers of self-publishing for print books, has been taken over by its long-term digital printing partner Reischling Press.

Reischling Press Inc, which is based in Seattle, has produced the vast majority of Blurb’s books since Blurb was set up in 2005.

RPI’s CEO Rick Bellamy says, ‘This is a strategic acquisition for us and culminates the long-term partnership between our two companies. Blurb’s primary audiences are creative professionals and self-publishers, and this acquisition leverages the strengths of each organization to deliver a comprehensive e-commerce print solution for professionals, businesses, and consumer brands.’

Blurb CEO Rix Kramlich says, ‘Becoming part of RPI is a natural next step for Blurb. It will enable us to focus on and accelerate improvements in the things that our users love about Blurb — our world-class creation tools as well as the breadth and quality of our printed products.’

Blurb has been particularly popular for photobook self-publishers looking for quality printing. One recent publication was Late Harvest by Forest McMullin, a book of photographs and essays about the American South. This was initially published using the Blurb platform and was then subsequently taken on by the Rochester Institute of Technology Press after the author ran a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Blurb has more than 2 million independent book authors worldwide with over 22 million units shipped to 70 countries around the world.

In the Bowker survey of the print self-publishing market for 2018 (published in October 2019), Blurb was placed third for the number of titles published during the year with a total of 17,682 (down from 9,223 in 2017). Lulu Press took second spot with 37,456 titles while CreateSpace/KDP Print was the runaway leader with 1,416,384 titles published.

The Bowker survey focuses only on books published that use ISBNs.

Blurb will continue to maintain offices in San Francisco and the UK. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many RPI and Blurb employees are working remotely at this time and will do so for the foreseeable future.

This is the fourth acquisition for RPI. In 2019, RPI bought SoftPrint Holdings, which expanded the company’s geographic distribution footprint. The deal included ColorCentric and Picaboo. In 2013, the company acquired DPI, an Atlanta-based company that provides web-to-print, on-demand products, and services for business-to-business customers. In 2011, RPI acquired Paro, a company based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, that provides print products for the corporate and consumer markets in Europe.

RPI has one of the industry’s biggest fleets of HP’s Indigo digital printers and has been on the Inc 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for seven years. The Seattle-based company, which celebrated its 40th year in business in 2019, has additional production facilities in Kennesaw, GA; Rochester, NY; and Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

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