Two Steps Closer to Instant Book Gratification

The American Booksellers Association recently announced a partnership with Applewood Books that will enable its member booksellers to publish out-of-print books on demand.  Applewood Books specialize in publishing exacting recreations of historic books.  Its titles include complex reprints of children’s art and pop-up books as well as books published using methods which replicate antique publishing techniques.

The new program will provide participating booksellers with the ability to publish any title that is in the public domain or any book, such as a local interest title, whose rights exist with or have reverted to the author and to sell it at margins from 50 percent (for up to 14 units) to 75 percent (1,000 units or more).

Applewood, which has more than 30 years of experience working with out-of-print licensing and public domain publishing, was a logical choice for the partnership.  Under the agreement, booksellers pay an advance fee of $250 for each title they co-publish. Applewood digitizes the work, creates a cover design, assigns an ISBN, etc. Lightning Source prints the titles. Booksellers can distribute titles through Applewood if they choose.

According to Bookselling this Week,

The partnership between ABA and Applewood Books was facilitated by Ingram’s Lightning Source, which had been engaged in conversations with the association to find ways to help independent booksellers tap into the print-on-demand market.

While Applewood will use Ingram’s Lightning Source as their printer, any store is welcome to work with Lightning Source directly or use other POD vendors. 

Espresso Book Machine

Espresso Book Machine

Lightning Source has a partnership with On Demand Books which gives On Demand Books access to its scanning facilities.  But it also provides the company access to copyrighted material through an opt in/opt out clause that Lightning Source will add to its publisher contracts.  Both the ABA – Applewood and  Lightning Source – On Demand Books partnerships represent continuing progress toward the “insta-book” – where a customer can walk into a store and get any book. 

Brownie camera

Brownie camera

The next step is to move the printing / binding part of the process out from a central distribution center to the local book buying venues.  It is somewhat reminiscent of the history of consumer photo finishing.  Originally, you had to send your photos off to be developed and wait days or weeks to get them back.  Then 24 hour photo processors sprang up.  Then retail venues like drugstores began offering photos developed in an hour.  And now it has evolved to self service (if you even want prints of course).  Can you say book ATM?

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