The £71m turnover book printer has bought the Kodak Prosper high-speed inkjet press from failed group MPG’s King’s Lynn site, and is fitting it with a new Timson T-Fold signature folder. The new setup will be integrated with Clays’ existing Muller Martini binding facilities in a near-line configuration.

The line will be in addition to Clay’s existing kit, and should be up and running by the end of the year.

The Bungay-based firm’s digital arsenal already includes a Prosper 1000 with Muller Martini binding line, a Timson T-Press and T-Book, and two Kodak Digimaster lines for additional short-run flexibility. It also has two standalone HP Indigo presses for covers and jackets.

The latest £1m spend takes the digital investment at Clays over the past five years to more than £10m.

Clays managing director Kate McFarlan said publisher demand for the inventory management efficiencies made possible via short-run, on-demand production was increasing.

“More capacity on the digital front will be welcome,” she said. “We will have the capacity to produce 20m books a year digitally, alongside our conventional production facilities.”

McFarlan said Clays was printing a number of major autumn launches, including the new David Walliams children’s book, and a raft of other bestsellers that are yet to hit the shelves.

Clays has also gained significant new work from academic and educational publishers following the demise of MPG.

St Ives chief executive Patrick Martell highlighted the group’s continuing investment in its printing activities when he announced its year-end results yesterday.