Bell & Bain has been enjoying the taste of success as the UK printer of the fastest-selling non-fiction book since records began.
Pinch of Nom, authored by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, is a no-nonsense cookbook intended to make dieting simple and cost-effective. Originating as a Facebook group for sharing recipes, the project was backed by publishers Pan Macmillan last year when it signed the duo to its Bluebird imprint.
Released in mid-March this year, the book sold 210,506 copies in its first three days on shelves.
Bell & Bain, the 188-year-old Glasgow book printer, was commissioned to print an initial run of 30,000 copies on a 10-day turnaround in early March, which quickly “snowballed” to a further 30,000, then 100,000 and so forth prior to launch, according to managing director Stephen Docherty.
He said: “Bluebird was desperate to get the books out in a hurry and, though the initial run is larger than we would normally do, we make books and we make them well. People sometimes forget what we can do, and this was a great opportunity to remind them.
“It was quite an enjoyable experience for our very experienced team. I don’t like to blow our own trumpet, but there is probably no one else in the UK who knows this trade quite as well as we do. I am not on social media, but people told me how quickly the book took off.
“On top of that, I have my own copy and have cooked a few of the recipes myself; they are rather good. I have been on a diet and lost three stone in four months, which Pinch of Nom has surely contributed to.”
Bell & Bain printed the 130gsm Lumi Silk text pages of the hardback books on a KBA Rapida 145, before folding on its Stahlfolder and MBOs, before binding on its Muller Martini Corona perfect binder and Diamant casebinder.
According to Docherty, Bell & Bain’s sales are currently running around £1m ahead of this point in 2018, partially boosted by the success of Pinch of Nom.
Going forward, he said the firm was looking to invest around £10m in a further KBA Rapida 145, a pair of folding machines and a B1 press across over the next year to solidify its litho capabilities alongside “the latest digital technology”.
Having taken on an additional unit next door to its Glasgow headquarters late last year, Bell & Bain now runs four sites in Glasgow, including the site of 21 Colour, which the firm acquired in June 2018. The total group headcount stands at around 160 people.
Turning over around £14.3m last year, Docherty said he expected Bell & Bain to hit sales around “£15.5m or more” in 2019.