UK Publisher Faber and Faber have launched a Print-On-Demand line for out of print books. Called Faber Finds, this imprint will publish short runs (very short – between one and fifty copies) of rare books. A list of books to choose from will be launched in June, you’ll be able to place orders with major booksellers or with the publisher, and I think they’ll take requests for just about any book you can think of.
According to The Guardian, Faber is the first non-academic publisher to embrace POD technology. Hopefully, the first of many. POD is obviously a great way to print the books people want, while saving revenue and warehouse space. And the environment. As fun as it is to visit a bookstore and see the shelves and masses of books spread out in front of you, printing books as people want them just makes so much sense, paper-wise. (Not that I think we should abandon one in favour of the other. I’m just as bookstore-addicted as the rest of you.) The Guardian’s article talks quite a bit about the different benefits and drawbacks of POD, including Amazon’s attempts to lock up the POD market in the US.
Although, just a thought: While many of the authors of these out-of-print books are undoubtedly dead, I hope someone is looking out for the royalties and copyright entitlements of the live ones. It would be a shame to think that such a great idea – keep books in print forever! – ended up denying authors any royalties they’re entitled to. Yet another thing to keep an eye on when you’re signing your publishing contract?