By Simon Dulac,
Founder of Rapido Books

We wish you all the best for 2023. We wish the same to all those who are part of our great community: our customers, our associates, our suppliers, and our colleagues. We also wish the best to every member of our trade, booksellers, and distributors.

As we enter the new year, we feel it is important to ask ourselves what it has in store for us and explain the upcoming changes.

Did you know that the words economy and ecology have the same ancient Greek root? The Greek term oikos, which means house. Etymology even tells us that these two words have exactly the same meaning, i.e. household management. We even talk about good housekeeping, as opposed to the adventures of unbridled speculation.

We must be aware, now more than ever, that we are part of an ecosystem that, because of its role in the culture of our great country, has to be prepared for the future by reducing its use of resources, not only for cost reasons, but also to protect the environment.

Since the beginning, Rapido has made resource conservation its specialty. When we offered our quick print model to Canadian publishers in 2013, we were probably a little ahead of the curve. The first few years were a bit difficult and, at times, we felt like we were a voice in the wilderness. But we never wavered in our belief that the best solution with modern technology was to print the number of books you need and not one more.

When it comes to anticipation, we often quote the famous phrase of Émile de Girardin, a great innovator of the 19th century press world, “Gouverner c’est prévoir” (To govern is to foresee), but we often forget the following, “Ne rien prévoir, ce n’est pas gouverner, c’est courir à sa perte” (To foresee nothing is not governing, it is to head for a fall). To continue on the path of growth at all costs would be condemnable. Resigning in the face of the magnitude of the task would be unforgivable. If we feel a form of urgency when faced with rising paper prices, our two greatest enemies are immobility and panic. At least the shock of inflation will have triggered the reduction in print runs.

By Simon Dulac,
Founder of Rapido Books
The fear of shortage is often the scapegoat. But the real issue is cost. In an environment where all prices are rising at the same time, overproduction, which was still the norm two years ago, is simply no longer an option. At Rapido, we are delighted about it.
However, even the most optimistic among us should consider the probability that the world will become more unstable in 2023. The transition from one model to another will be rocky. For a new world to emerge, an old one must disappear, and this usually leads to upheaval.

A Few Books to Deepen Our Reflection

As a sign of the times, the comic book World Without End by Jean-Marc Jancovici and Christophe Blain reached record sales in France in 2022. Jancovici is an expert on energy issues renown internationally. This book illustrates perfectly how our modern world would not be what it is without abundant and cheap energy. We encourage you to read it and even give it as a gift. It is a very good book, packed with information and quite entertaining. The findings are harsh, but after forty years of blindness to the physical limits of our economic development, it seems that we have a date with history. This bestseller also shows that this subject is of increasing concern to our contemporaries.

Going back in time, it was Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in 1962, that launched the environmental movement. At the time, this hard-hitting book alerted the public to the risks of using DDT-based pesticides, which were finally banned in the United States in 1972. However, the excessive use of chemicals has continued and has led to the disappearance of 20% of birdlife over the past 40 years, according to BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

More recently, the book On Fire by Naomi Klein published in 2019 in Québec, alerted us on why we are not taking action and suggested that a Green New Deal be put in place without delay. We share with the author the conviction that we must, without delay, engage our societies in the construction of a new world in order to stop the destruction of our home—Earth. Let’s be objective, the way of life of the most developed countries, like ours, has caused and continues to cause the greatest damage. It is paired with the increasing moral decline of our fellow citizens before the growing climate emergency.

To end on a slightly more positive note, we recommend reading Emmanuel Druon’s book, Ecolonomy. Based on the observation that it is more economical to produce ecologically, Emmanuel has transformed, over the last 25 years, his company Pochéco, that manufactures envelopes, and strives to achieve total autonomy in water and electricity, to ensure the recycling of all its waste, and to do it without polluting products. Over time, Emmanuel and his team have extended their field of action to reforestation, wastewater treatment using natural methods, and permaculture to limit the impact of their ecological footprint as much as possible. Pochéco is one of the model companies featured in the film Tomorrow. At Rapido, we are working with the company’s design office on our future projects to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible.

We felt it was important to draw from these books to raise the debate and to define the context in which we operate. We will soon publish an article entitled How Books Have Changed the World. More than ever, it is becoming urgent to match our actions to our words. At Rapido, we believe it is better to restrain ourselves than to be constrained to act.

We all remember these few sentences from Albert Camus’ speech when he received the Nobel Prize in 1957, “Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself.” We invite you to read or to listen again to this humble and beautiful message which speaks to us with a strange timeliness. Our freedom depends on our sense of responsibility.

The Observations Are Made

There is no need to reassert all the predictions that have been warning us for years that wasteful growth is no longer sustainable. Faced with the degradation of the environment, public awareness is obvious. The technological solutions that were supposed to solve the global warming equation without confronting our consumption patterns are beginning to lose ground. We have to admit it, the performance of electric cars, windmills, and photovoltaic panels is disappointing.
So, unless we decide to return to our great-grandparents’ lifestyle, sobriety is undoubtedly the shortest route to reduce pollution in the broad sense. Instead of castigating the industry for its excesses, we should make use of the treasures of intelligence and competence it holds, as they enable it to make tremendous progress year after year. Let us also not forget that a world without industry is a world of poverty.

We also do not believe that we should make citizens feel guilty about their behaviour. It would be better to encourage them to make better choices and especially to consume locally. Our future lies in short circuits, productivity, and courageous choices . . . and certainly not in the punishment and discouragement that the media censors have mastered.

You understand that our aim is to get out of all these sterile debates where we look for a guilty party. It is obviously easier to blame someone than to take action. Every new path we take is fraught with risk, whereas gossip is never accountable. Starting the general mobilization of the population in a grand project for society would be more effective in overcoming the immense challenges that lie ahead, rather than announcing the end of time. The society that has been unravelled by the onslaught of individualism, comfort, and technical progress needs to be repaired. This will certainly not happen through demagogic speeches, but through the best of our species: our collective intelligence, so dear to the philosopher John Dewey.

In our field, the conditions are now in place to amplify the shift towards on-demand production. Firstly, the technology is ready. Secondly, many publishers are aware of the threat of the increase in the price of paper and are saying that they want to reduce their head runs in order to reprint on demand. Thirdly, distributors are now saying that they can no longer support current stocking levels. So, we all agree. That is why we are all going to work together to make the transition. The time to act is now.

It’s Too Late to Be Afraid, We Have to Change

The time for imagination has come. The solutions of the past (offshoring and mass production) are no longer viable when opposed to the immense challenges posed by environmental degradation and geopolitical shocks. Add to this the ageing of the population and the equation becomes even more complicated.
At Rapido, we remain optimistic, because for us, it is already tomorrow. With our team, which has welcomed new talents in recent months, we are building this model day by day where waste will gradually disappear. In production, we no longer “waste” any books on most of our productions, without ever sacrificing quality.
Our system is so flexible that we can order absolutely any quantity of books, from 1 to 1,000 copies (1, 2, 8, 15, 20, 25, 63, 80, 122 or even 999) and only charge for the quantity ordered.

For two years, thanks to our EasyRapido offer, we have been working with several publishers on the management of their inventories to produce orders adapted to their needs. In 2023, this solution will reach a new stage. We will tell you more about it when the time comes.

At Rapido, we are particularly optimistic because we believe that the upcoming difficulties will reshuffle the deck by giving:
  • Know-how the place it deserves;
  • More freedom and recognition for those who take the risk to innovate and undertake.
In a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, Theodore Roosevelt expressed himself on this issue with superb lyricism:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt
April 1910
Speech at La Sorbonne
Theodore Roosevelt

April 1910

Speech at La Sorbonne

There Is Only Wealth in Women and Men

Ten years ago when my wife, our children, and I left our home country, France, we wanted a new beginning, to live a new life. With this in mind, we wanted to build an innovative business model. Thanks to our clients without whom nothing would have been possible, and their trust, we were able to build this team of quality women and men, all dedicated to this project that makes us so proud. A member of my family recently told me, “Your story is a hymn to life.”
In addition, all of our employees come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Québec is represented, of course, but also Ontario, the French West Indies, France, and a few more distant countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Chinese and Turkish culture also have their place. In short, it is a beautiful palette with which we want to paint a happier future, a world in colour rather than in black and white.

In his book Ecolonomy, Emmanuel Druon writes, “We are alive. Because in the face of every challenge, an original proposal emerges. We shift. We create. We group together. We talk. We think. We laugh. The atmosphere becomes tense, we explain ourselves. Our pasts nourish, from one difference to another, ideas that we explore together. A strength surely comes from the complicity that has developed over the years. The constant movement fuels the fire.”