Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A New Life for Out of Print with POD

An interesting article appeared last week in the UK's Guardian. The article talks about how POD (print-on-demand) may help consumers and publishers alike by enabling access to books no longer in print. One of the lessons we seem to be learning about POD, which this article reinforces, is that it works well for fairly small runs, but breaks down with larger runs. The article does a good job of presenting different POD initiatives and some of their impact within the marketplace. Thanks to long-tail economics, niche titles have a marketable value again. For stores, this may represent opportunities to reduce costs or generate revenue from lower-number print runs. The article also cites some other popular POD developments and players, such as Lightning Source, Amazon, and Lulu. At NACS we are about to launch a taskforce to further explore some of the recent opportunities presented the association to implement POD at the store level. Since not every store can afford an espresso high-speed book printer, we are looking at and for some different options, including some regionalized POD models. In doing so we hope to reduce material costs for students, support environmental sustainability efforts, and, ensure a place for stores in an increasingly complex content environment.

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