23 November 2007

We Demand Books on Demand

One of the interesting results of the move to digital texts is a growing realisation that analogue books still have a role to play. Similarly, it's clear that analogue books serve different functions, and that feeds into their particular physical form. So some books may be created as works of art, produced to the very highest physical standards, while others may simply be convenient analogue instantiations of digital text.

Public domain books are likely to fall into the latter class, which means that ideally there should be an easy way to turn such e-texts into physical copies. Here's one:

This is an experiment to see what the demand for reprints of public domain books would be. This free service can take any book from the Internet Archive (that is in public domain) and reprint it using Lulu.com. Prices of the books are rounded up from Lulu.com cost prices to the nearest $0.99 to cover the bandwidth and processing power that we rent from Amazon using their EC2 service. There is also a short post on my blog about it.

How Does It Work

Anyone with an email address can place a request on this page using an Internet Archive link or ID. Your request will be forwarded to our conversion server which will convert the appropriate book to printable form, and sends it off to Lulu.com. When the book has been uploaded, it will be made for immideate ordering and shipping, and you will receive a link to it via email. Currently, only soft cover books are supported in 6"x9", 6.625"x10.25" or 8"x11" trim sizes.

Interesting to see Lulu.com here, confirming its important place as a mediator between the digital and analogue worlds. (Via Open Access News.)

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