According to a recent press release, Cornell University Library plans to increase its print-on-demand offerings to more than 80,000 titles by the end of 2009. The additional titles will be added to the roughly 6,000 items currently available on Amazon.com. For the past two years, the library has been working with Microsoft to digitize the books which include many out of print titles.
Oya Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Information Technologies explained the initiative, "Although demand for online access to digital books has been growing, books as artifacts continue to have a real value. This initiative supports the reading and research patterns of users who prefer the affordances provided by physical books - they support deep reading, underlining and writing comments in the margins. The Web is great for easy access and browsing, but because digital content can sometimes be ephemeral, physical books continue to serve as valuable reference sources on your shelf."
This announcement provides another example of the recent increase in the number of libraries offering digitized collections. As discussed in a previous posting, the movement to digital creates some new opportunities for libraries and college stores to work together. The creation of on campus partnerships could provide print-on-demand opportunities for the universities rather than Amazon.