The University of Pennsylvania Libraries and Kirtas Technologies will offer a new service that allows customers to request that public domain books in Penn's collection be digitized and printed on request.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Today, Kirtas announces a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries to make over 200,000 titles available to the public in a unique way.
Using existing information drawn from Penn's catalog records, Kirtas is able to offer out-of-copyright books for sale through its own retail site, www.kirtasbooks.com. What makes this initiative unique is that the books can be offered for sale before they are ever digitized, so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost.
"This partnership allows us to gauge reader interest in on-demand digitization and printing services," said Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania. "That frees us from difficult selection decisions and lets the digital collection grow in response to user demand. The model is efficient and minimizes the risk as we develop new ways of addressing information needs."
Through www.kirtasbooks.com, customers will be able to search for a desired title, and when found, place a "digitize for me" request. The desired book will be pulled from Penn's shelves, digitized, processed by Kirtas for optimal reading and printing, and a newly-printed copy will be shipped to the initiator. Or, the customer can purchase access to an online-only version of the book. Once the book has been digitized, it is returned undamaged to the library shelf. . . .
Through this unique partnership with Kirtas, the Penn Libraries will also earn income on orders of its books. Distribution rights are non-exclusive so the books can be made available through the Penn Libraries, as well as other distribution channels at the library's request.