Monday, June 25, 2007

Print on Demand services from BookSurge

Yesterday I posted about a print on demand technology that is installed at the New York Public Library. Today, as I read through more of my RSS feeds, I saw this from Friday, June 22:

BookSurge, an Amazon group and leader in Print on Demand services, and Kirtas Technologies, a world leader in high-quality nondestructive book digitization, today announced a collaboration with universities and public libraries to preserve thousands of rare and inaccessible books from their collections and distribute them via BookSurge’s Print-on-Demand service. This collaboration, which will greatly enhance the selection of rare and historic books for sale on and other retail channels, represents a breakthrough approach to digitization and preservation that will ensure the public will have access to these works indefinitely via Print on Demand. This initiative will also help these institutions fund their mission of preserving these vast literary collections by offering a revenue source from the sales of content these institutions own or that is in the public domain on Kirtas will provide economical, nondestructive scanning technology. In addition to providing funding for their ongoing digitization efforts, this collaboration gives libraries and universities complete control over what is being scanned in their collections.

Emory University, University of Maine, Toronto Public Library, and Cincinnati Public Library are the first organizations to enter into agreements with Kirtas to make their rare-book collections available to a readership that extends far beyond their physical geographies to include an audience of millions of customers. This preservation effort is the only method that allows university and public libraries to preserve books and print them on demand as they are ordered. Participating institutions retain full control over what is digitized, so they now have an economical way to preserve, reproduce and distribute important works that may be disappearing from their shelves. we have had to keep track of what libraries have aligned with what digitization vendor/project. Now we need to keep track of what print on demand services is aligned with what digitization vendor/project. At some point, will the mass digitization projects finally intersect -- perhaps because they will all need the same limited resource -- and play with each other?

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