Gomer to refocus on print as publishing arm shuts

By Rhys Handley, Friday 13 September 2019

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Gomer Press is set to wind down its publishing arm in an effort to refocus on and protect its printing operations.

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Gomer's printing facility in Llandysul will stay open

Workers in Carmarthenshire were told by owner Jonathan Lewis on Tuesday (10 September) that the publishing part of the company will close. The printing wing in Llandysul will stay open.

Founded in 1892, the company has published some of the biggest names in Welsh-language literature including T Llew Jones and Islwyn Ffowc Elis. It is considered one of the most prominent publishers of Welsh-language books.

A company statement said: “Gomer has decided, after considering in detail the company’s strategic future, to gradually bring publishing to an end and concentrate on the printing department and in doing so protect the future of 55 staff.

“In the meantime Gomer will continue to work with authors and the Welsh Books Council to publish titles which are already in progress, as well as operating as a publisher for the 3,500 titles that are already in print, and ensure that royalties are paid to authors, as well as republishing popular titles when the need arises.”

As part of its refocus on print, the operation will install a new Polar 115N Plus guillotine to replace an older model from 2004 at the end of September.

Supplied by Heidelberg, it will fulfil high-end applications, mostly facilitating the production of fine art coffee table books, a process that Gomer carries out end-to-end onsite.

Commercial manager Martin Koffer said: “We were very happy with our previous Polar as it was very reliable, and this was just a case of taking on the latest version of the guillotine.

“It should be a machine that stays with us for the next 20 years. We run a lot of presses and finishing kit from Heidelberg and have found their service and support to be very good at a time when other suppliers are cutting back.”

Capabilities on the Polar N115 Plus boast a cutting width of 1.15m and a knife speed of 45 cycles/min. It will run at Gomer alongside a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 LE-UV which was installed for a £1.7m investment in late 2017 and prints onto uncoated stocks to serve the firm’s key fine art market.

Gomer Press also runs a Speedmaster SM 52, alongside a digital Heidelberg printer and finishing capabilities for full hardback book production including binding, casing and foil blocking.

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