The Future of Printed Books

Will the ebook kill off the print book?"

Every time I hear that question, I think about the "paperless office." Back in the '80s, the rise of word processors and e-mail convinced a lot of people that paper would vanish. Why print anything when you could simply squirt documents around electronically?

We all know how that turned out. Paper use exploded; indeed, firms that adopted e-mail used 40 percent more paper. That's because even in a world of screens, paper offers unique ways to organize and share your thoughts, as Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper noted inThe Myth of the Paperless Office. There's also this technology truism to consider: When you make something easier to do, people do more of it. Now that every office worker has access to a computer and a printer, every office worker can design and distribute elaborate multicolor birthday flyers and spiral-bound presentations.

"Print-on-demand" publishing is about to do the same thing to books. It'll keep them alive-by allowing them to be much weirder.

Print-on-demand devices, like the Espresso Book Machine, do just what their name implies: You feed them a digital file and in minutes you have a good-looking paperback with a color cover. (Print-on-demand companies like Lulu or Blurb even produce hardcover and photo books.)

In a precise parallel to the office-printing boom, print-on-demand is creating an odd new phenomenon that Blurb founder Eileen Gittens calls social publishing. Photo-and-storybook records of camping trips or corporate retreats are created as mementos for participants. There are technical manuals devoted to superniche software. And there are oceans of memoirs and poetry books, often printed in runs of one.

Print-on-demand books can also become plastic-altered on the fly to suit each reader. For his self-published motivational book, Bobby Bakshi, a former Microsoft employee who now does corporate consulting, writes a different intro for each client. Over at the University of Alberta, the bookstore hosted a talk by former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell. Her book was out of print, so the store used its Espresso machine to run off fresh copies-with a new cover and two new chapters that Campbell wrote for the event."We can take almost any whimsy and turn it into a book," says Vladimir Verano, who runs the Espresso machine at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington.

Whimsy, sure, but it's also becoming an enormous market with an intergalactically long tail. Consider: In traditional print publishing, the number of new titles increased by 5 percent from 2009 to 2010, rising to 316,000. In contrast, print-on-demand and self-publishing boomed by 169 percent-hitting a stunning 2.8 million unique titles.

Granted, few of those titles have been printed more than a handful of times; print-on-demand is still a small fraction of total book production. But the trend is obvious. Mass publishers doing "big" books will continue to shift to the Kindle and its peers, while smaller outlets will use print-on-demand for formats that privilege physicality, like mementos, visually lush books, and custom-designed, limited-edition copies of novels. This trend will accelerate in 15 or 20 years, when, as some observers predict, your average home printer will be able to spit out paperbacks. "I see this fundamentally as a tabletop medium. It's the photocopier of the future," says Rick Anderson, a librarian who runs an Espresso machine at the University of Utah.

Will this be good for readers? Yes and no. As with blogs, most DIY books will be dreadful and treasured only by their authors. But the ecosystem encourages new voices doing things we can't predict, which is generally good.

So don't worry about the fate of print books. Heck, you'll be neck deep in them-whenThe Myth of the Paperless Bookfinally goes on sale.


22 comments on “The Future of Printed Books”

  1. Posted Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:14:15 AM

    The integrated nature of the auto industry's supply chain means that most automakers were affected by the quake's damage some way or another, and Perodua was no exception

  2. Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 3:58:13 AM

    This has effects on connected with healthy danger have gotten progressively more high-priced in addition to harmful. Risk to safety has effects on within the natural environment become more harmful mainly because people progress possesses improved the flexibility connected with healthy programs to get better by like functions.

  3. Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 5:41:32 AM

    It's not possible to believe astounded good enough within Fendi affordable handbags, while they always consist of innovative, today's and even fabulous units. Unsecured personal plastic bags was remodeled and even brand-new versions have been completely manufactured. Baguette, Secret agent and even P backpack respectively go over distinct products.

  4. Posted Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:14:15 AM

    When it comes to fashion, nothing beats a woman. In order to look their best, they will do anything and everything they can. Buying designer handbags to match their outfit is what they look out for at discounted prices. Thats the reason why leather handbags Australia has been their first choice, whenever they are shopping for these bags. Making the designer handbags make good use of the best quality and products to give it a stunning and distinctive look. Considering the materials used and the processes, you can avail the best ones at shop handbags online. Each handbag is carefully created to accentuate its every detail. One can assurance is that designer bags will never dissatisfy you, as far as fashion is concerned.

  5. Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 8:41:19 PM

    look forward to your masterpiece, you can also see our information with best replica watches

  6. Posted Monday, September 19, 2016 at 11:39:06 AM

    Wow, this article is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things, thus I am going to convey her.

  7. Posted Monday, September 19, 2016 at 11:39:21 AM

    Wow, this article is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things, thus I am going to convey her.

  8. Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 3:09:38 AM

    For Women Available In India in Corpus Christi .

  9. Posted Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 3:14:48 AM

    Looking for comprar farmacia espaГ±a?

  10. Posted Friday, December 16, 2016 at 11:42:50 PM

    unger sister is analyzing these kinds of things, thus I

  11. Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 4:31:48 AM

    Once, side effects for young men said on aug.

  12. Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 1:13:50 AM

    Xanax and side effects is attractive for blocking ground from the condition into differences.

  13. Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 12:57:27 AM

    Agents who searched his bags found condoms and , a drug for erectile dysfunction .

  14. Posted Friday, April 14, 2017 at 2:52:51 AM

    Atrial Fibrillation</a> for future reference.

  15. Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 1:32:25 AM

    new voices doing things we can't predict,

  16. Posted Friday, October 13, 2017 at 12:40:37 AM

    Inhibor Side Effects and The Dangers of for more details.

  17. Posted Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 3:30:28 AM

    What is for women - and does it even exist?

  18. Posted Friday, December 15, 2017 at 2:32:19 AM

    Thai men don’t need or other pharmaceutical props for their equipment.

  19. Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 1:48:11 AM

    Your book there is for a generic cover, left, to return, they rely on more expensive.

  20. Posted Monday, March 5, 2018 at 3:31:42 AM

    generic , online pharmacy for cialis .

  21. Posted Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 4:08:01 PM

    watch [url=]recorded webcam[/url] online !   :heart:
    watch <a href=>recorded webcam</a> online !   :heart:

  22. Posted Friday, May 4, 2018 at 2:13:38 AM

    Buy cialis no prescription is there a generic for .

Post a comment