Innovation and diversification are the twin motors punctuating CoLibrìSystem’s two decades-long history. Early successes include the introduction in 2002 of its first pocket-sized machine enabling libraries and stationers to manually cover books. In 2007, the company introduced its first Leonardo compact book covering machine.
“Back then, the machines were still manually operated, but in 2012, we launched e-Leonardo, the first automated machine,” says Managing Director Marco Colombo. “e-Leonardo senses, checks, gauges, lowers, welds, trims and rises again. Thanks to digitally controlled sensors, it offers perfect results every time.”
The system works on both soft cover and hardback books and automatically cuts standard CoLibrì System plastic sleeves to size and heat welds the open edges together for a perfect seal. Far quicker to apply than an adhesive foil, replacing a damaged cover is just as quick and easy so that any book can be protected in a matter of seconds.
The CoLibrì System comprises the special machine and the sleeves to go with it. These are available in a range of different sizes and now also a wide range of colours. Stationery are the company’s main distribution channel but its marketing efforts tend to target end-users.
“In 2016, we launched a very successful advertising campaign that focused on the parents of school age children,” explains Mr. Colombo. “Basically, it aimed to reassure them that we would help them cover their children’s school exercise and textbooks. In this way, we encouraged them to ask for this service from their local stationer.”
Stationery shops continue to be CoLibrì’s main customer base but the company’s system is also widely used by lending libraries, booksellers, comic book stores, schools and universities, and firms and offices.
With the launch of the Perfecta machine, we are targeting the in-store gift wrapping market. Marco ColomboManaging Director
More recently, the company has attempted to diversify still further. “In 2018, we stepped up our activities on social media and, at the same time, we diversified our machines,” says Mr. Colombo. “With the launch of the Perfecta machine, we are now able to offer a product that appeals to any shop that sells gift items and offers a wrapping service. For example perfumery stores or departments, toy shops and even chemist’s selling cosmetics.”
The Perfecta machine is accompanied by a range of colourful cellophane rolls and can be used to wrap any object attractively and professionally. Another advantage of the Perfecta system is that it extends the season for Colibrì consumables. “Our busiest time of year is at the beginning of the new school year when parents are buying new books and materials for their children,” says Mr. Colombo. “With Perfecta, we also benefit from the Christmas trade.”
Another recent innovation was the launch of a mini printer called Colibrì Printer which enables the printing of labels for its book covers. However, last year, Colibrì introduced perhaps the most important innovation in its history. “In 2019, we developed the first book cover made from I’m Green™ biopolyethylene which is made from sugar cane rather than fossil fuels,” describes Mr. Colombo. “By the end of the year we hope to have switched completely to this renewable and recyclable material as the first company worldwide to do so.”
In a world increasingly dominated by digital media, consumerism and disposability, Colibrì System’s product range represents stability and durability. Its environmentally friendly system extends the life of books and objects that are loved and treasured by their owners. That a system designed to protect an analogue medium should be so successful is cause for hope. “Consumers today are critical, demanding, informed and above all nomadic,” says Mr. Colombo. “To combat this nomadism, you have to have a strong brand presence. That is where we have been most successful.”