Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unlikely Trio Partnering on In-Store POD

An intriguing triad was announced recently. Kodak, the iconic film company still grappling with bankruptcy, is partnering with On Demand Books, maker of the Espresso print-on-demand book machine, and ReaderLink, distributor of books to nonbookstores, that is, discount stores, drugstores, and the like.

The threesome will be working together to merge Espresso’s book-printing functions with the image- and color-printing capabilities of Kodak’s photo kiosks. ReaderLink will help get the machines into the distribution channels where it already sells hard-copy books. Much of the focus, at least initially, will be on marketing the services to consumers or small groups who want to create photo books, such as family albums or local histories. Later, the emphasis may shift to providing access to backlist titles.

Publishers Weekly’s coverage of the announcement drew some skeptical remarks from commenters, who doubted the venture would get off the ground, given the availability of other services for creating custom books and for buying e-book versions of the backlist.

Kodak’s involvement was something of a surprise, as some have written off the company as near-dead. But back in May, the company’s POD group unveiled new workflow solutions for color printing. One drawback for the Espresso has been its inability to print color on inside pages. Kodak’s solution resolves that problem.

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