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The Economist on E-books and POD

There’s not a lot new here, but some of the numbers are interesting. The e-book market tripled from 2005…to $30M?

Although e-books may one day transform the industry, another new technology that is less visible to readers is already making itself felt. Print on Demand (POD), which allows books to be printed and bound to order, is making millions of books available even if they appeal to only a narrow readership. Here, too, academia leads the way. Stephen DeForge of Ames On-Demand says his POD business, which specialises in printing small runs of customised books for schools and universities, has been growing by 45% a year since 2001. Last year his firm printed more than 800,000 books in runs as small as ten copies at a time.

The opportunity has not been lost on Mr Bezos. In March Amazon announced that it would require all the POD books it sells to be printed by the company at its warehouses. Mr Bezos says that this enables Amazon to have a book ready to ship within two hours of an order being placed online. Between POD and the Kindle, Mr Bezos thinks he can sell “any book ever printed in any language”. But printers and distributors, like booksellers before them, fear the oncoming Amazon juggernaut.



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