Can Print-on-Demand Save the Book Industry?

A new program will allow all physical bookstores, from the largest to the smallest, to promote and sell the HarperCollins backlist through in-store "Digital-to-Print at Retail" (DPR) using the Espresso Book Machine (EBM). The goal of this initiative is to give the local bookseller the capability to provide customers with a greater selection of HarperCollins titles in a physical environment.

All of the books Doc has ever worked on are now deep backlisted, which pretty much means no physical bookstores stock them anymore. But now, thanks to the miracle of the Espresso Book Machine, at least 5,000 backlisted titles are currently available in selected bookstores through a unique print-on-demand service.

In a first from a major trade publisher, HarperCollins Publishers recently announced "Comprehensive Backlist." This program will allow all physical bookstores, from the largest to the smallest, to promote and sell the HarperCollins backlist through in-store "Digital-to-Print at Retail" (DPR) using the Espresso Book Machine (EBM). The program will enable bookstores to offer thousands of trade paperback books from the HarperCollins catalog through a mix of traditionally printed books and DPR, as space and cash flow restrictions will no longer be a factor.

At launch, HarperCollins will work with On Demand Books, LLC, the maker of the Espresso Book Machine, to enable instant distribution of books that are not currently stocked in stores. With the push of a button, books can be printed, bound, and trimmed to a bookstore-quality, perfect-bound paperback book, with a full-color cover, in minutes.

"Even as digital book sales grow, bookstores continue to be an important place for customers to shop for physical books. The goal of this initiative is to give the local bookseller the capability to provide customers with a greater selection of HarperCollins titles in a physical environment," said Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers. "For authors this is a win; titles will be more broadly available, which increases sales with full print royalties. Depending on the size of the store, 25%-80% of our backlist titles are not stocked due to physical space limitations. DPR technology means the books will be there for the consumer at small and large bookshops."

For more information about the Espresso Book Machine visit www.ondemandbooks.com. Retailers interested in installing the technology can contact On Demand Books at 212-966-2222 or by email at sales@ondemandbooks.com. There may be hope for Doc's old titles after all.

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