Charlesworth Press has geared up to produce thousands of personalised case bound and perfect bound books a day, having won a magical contract for the world's best known boy wizard.
The Wakefield company is producing Keys and Curios for Wizarding World Digital, the joint venture company between Warner Brothers and Pottermore. The book is a personalised journal for members of the Harry Potter fan club. The youngsters can upgrade their basic membership to gold level and this opens the way to a multitude of extras in the form of privileged events and priority booking. And each receives an individual digitally printed book.
The content takes the members’ names, the house at Hogwarts School that they belong to and details of their chosen pet to personalise each unique publication. Keys and Curios follows on from the first Lost My Name personalised children’s book published by Wonderbly and is a first use of its technology on a B2B2C publishing platform.
The software takes the letters of the child’s name are used to describe a personality trait associated with that latter. Further personalised pages relate to the house each child belongs to. There are also Enchanted Keys to hidden content that is released via the fan club app and can be configured to offer something different each month. This includes AR content, a nest of spiders seeming to leap from the page, when scanned by a mobile phone.
The journal has been designed by MinaLima, the studio involved in the design for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast films who are responsible for retaining consistency across the franchise.
Tom Greene, Wizarding World Digital’s chief operating officer, says: “Keys and Curios brings a new level of personalisation to fans of the Wizarding World. Through imagination, creativity, and technology we were able to create a truly magical journal, that is not only unique to every fan but will delight them with new interactive features such as our Enchanted Keys unlocks. The team at Wonderbly were fantastic in helping to deliver this innovative experience that can be enjoyed time and time again.
Asi Sharabi, CEO of Wonderbly, adds: “As real innovators, we could not ask for a better suited partner than Wizarding World Digital. They came to us with an exciting vision for a type of publishing product that had never been done before. It’s been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with them and bring to life this beautiful journal, for millions of Harry Potter fans around the world.”
Charlesworth operations director Lee Hewitt has commented: “A proud day for the team at Charlesworth Press to see this amazing 12-month project finally go live. It’s been a huge challenge but a pleasure to be involved with the incredible team at Wonderbly.”
In order to prepare for the project, Charlesworth has cleared space in its factory and invested in a new finishing line from Muller Martini. This comprises VBA end sheet feeder, Vareo binder, Infinitrim robotic trimmer, and a EMP513 casing in machine with a separate investment in a Kolbus case maker. The line can produce 1,800 books a hour, equivalent to 36,000 personalised hardcover books a day. It is one of the first automated and integrated lines of its type in the world.
The Wizarding World project is unlikely to require the entire capacity of this line, at least not in the first stages. Charlesworth has been a printer for other Wonderbly books and the line is capable of switching on the fly to different format and thickness books.
It has taken a year of development involving Wonderbly, Wizarding World Digital, Charlesworth and US printer Linemark Printing ahead of the launch this month. Sharabi recalls “all the creative tears, blood and sweat poured into this [by the Wonderbly team] and special thanks for the Wizarding World for the ambitious vision and trust.”
By Gareth Ward