Culture

Media

Holding it together— Stockholm

Preface

While newspaper groups try to figure out how to survive in digital form, one firm believes that print’s future is just fine if you know that feel and fold – and how a paper is fixed together – are key to a satisfying read.

Digital, Jan Melin, Newspapers, Print, Tolerins

Jan Melin thinks he has the answer to securing the future of the daily newspaper amid the digital onslaught of iPads, Kindles and mobile news widgets – and it’s not a new palmtop device. It’s a stapler.

Melin, the CEO of Swedish company Tolerans, a world leader in “in-line stitching” (that’s the two staples that hold tabloid papers together), is an unlikely player in the current debate over the future of print. Visiting the firm’s tiny headquarters (Tolerans has 40 staff worldwide) outside Stockholm, it’s difficult to imagine how a company that has…

  1. Being able to gather the whole paper in one piece helps keep city streets clean and the steel staples are easily recovered in the pulping process.

  2. Many websites offer origami-like tips on how to handle broadsheets in public places ‘in no fewer than five folds’. Compacts bypass this problem.

  3. A University of Gothenburg study in 2006 found that compacts are read for 15 per cent longer than broadsheets, and are much more likely to reach multiple readers.

  4. Unstitched broadsheets have only one double spread, in the centre-fold, but stitched compacts make every page part of a potential double. This allows for more imaginative use of editorial layouts, and more flexibility on advertising formats.

All stitched up: Tolerans company profile

Founded in Stockholm in 1947, Tolerans has quietly built a stapling empire over 60 years that now covers the major printing works across 70 countries, and has an 80 per cent market share. Most of the big names in stapled newspapers and stapled supplements, including Dagens Nyheter, Metro, The Guardian, The Washington Post and i, use Tolerans stitching machines.

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