Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

December 1, 2011

Print Books Going Away — Or Will We be Neck Deep in Them

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 9:24 AM

In the latest issue of WIRED Magazine, Clive Thompson took on the challenge of ebooks vs print books.

His conclusion?

Print books are NOT going away. As a matter of fact, we’ll soon be neck deep in them.

Why? How? Three little letters – POD (print-on-demand).

Did you know that the percent increase of POD and self-published books from 2009 to 2010 boomed to 169% – hitting a stunning 2.8 million unique titles! No wonder a new author has an almost impossible task of breaking through the clutter.

Anyway, back to Thompson.

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.)

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.

The fate of print books? We may soon be neck deep in them.

 

 

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