The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Amazon Offering 3-D Printing Products

3-D printers created a buzz at CAMEX 2014. In fact, Estella McCollum, CCR, director, KU Bookstore, University of Kansas, posted on Facebook how excited she was to purchase one for her store.

Now there’s news that Amazon also has its eye on 3-D printing. Just prior to CAMEX, the online giant announced a pilot program with 3DLT, a Cincinnati, OH-based startup firm, to sell 3-D printed products through its website.

3DLT was one of the first companies to market 3-D printed products and printing designs, which ultimately caught the attention of Amazon.

“When we began feeding the products into Amazon, we got a call from them,” John Hauer, CEO of 3DLT, told the Cincinnati Business Courier. “We said, ‘We’re putting some products in your marketplace.’ They said, ‘That’s all well and good, but we don’t have a category called 3-D printed products.’ We said, ‘We’d like to help you create one.’”

The pilot started with categories for 3-D printed toys, home accessories and decor items, jewelry, and fashion/tech accessories. 3DLT already has 50 items listed and plans to introduce more in the coming weeks.

“I think it’s going to be huge because, first of all, Amazon gets 90 million unique [visitors] a month, so there’s a likelihood they could drive some traffic,” Hauer said. “More importantly for us, it’s demonstrable proof that we’re able to feed into another platform and manage that process. We believe that will be very helpful in dealing with other retail concerns that are looking to bring 3-D printing into their ecosystem.”

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