Monday, April 11, 2005

More Print On Demand in Libraries

Alane Wilson's posting about Amazon's recent acquisition of BookSurge, provides a really good summary of yet another interesting twist of plot in the publishing industry.

I've been projecting a link between the content that we might digitize as a library and a POD service. It's clear to me that for many cases, print is still the desired "use" copy of content.
At the same time, there is increasing demand for digital availability. I think there is great potential for libraries to develop strategic partnerships to provide POD service for the content they hold.

James Epstein, suggests an interesting business model for a print-on demand service that might use a kiosk-like infrastructure to allow users to select the book they would like, pay for it, and have a print-on-demand copy within a couple minutes...
"At Marshs workshop we watched a machine, about two-and-a-half meters
long and half as high, receive a digital file, adjust itself to the
dimensions of the desired book, and transmit the file to a duplex
printer. The printed pages were then gathered and bound within a cover
produced by a separate, four-color printer. The entire automatic
process took about two minutes. The bound, 256-page book was next
conveyed to a trimmer and finished, all without an operator.

It was a transcendent moment.

In the electronic future, everything ever published will be recoverable by
searching on Google or sites like it (see Whats Next for Google? p.
38). Enthusiasts for any activity under the sun, booksellers,
publishers, and eventually authors themselves will post digital files
of texts on their sites. At their computers, readers will select books
from an infinite library of many languages and transmit them to the
nearest book machines, where they will collect the printed books at
their convenience." (The Future of Books,, vol 5 no 1)