HP is diving further into the world of print-on-demand publishing of out-of-print books with the launch of a new service called BookPrep. According to the company, it is possible to "bring any book ever published back into print through an economical and sustainable service model."
BookPrep essentially takes scanned materials and automatically applies cleanup which otherwise would be a time-intensive task for operators. Usually this involves cropping, sharpening, colour correction and removal of artifacts or damage.
“People around the world still value reading books in print,” said Andrew Bolwell, Director, New Business Initiatives, HP. “HP BookPrep technology allows publishers to extend the life cycle of their books, removes the cost and waste burdens of maintaining inventory, and uses a full spectrum of technologies to deliver convenient access to consumers.”
BookPrep also serves as a web service for people to read scanned books online or order a printed copy.
HP's move to digitize out-of-print books and reproduce them on demand mirrors that of Google, which partnered with New York-based On Demand Books earlier this year. HP has partnered with the University of Michigan and it will make more than 500,000 rare and hard-to-find books available for reprinting. Google's database of scanned materials reached 10 million titles on October 9, but only a small portion is available for printing. HP is encouraging publishers to submit their back catalogues to be digitized and made available for reprinting "to make the concept of 'out of print' a thing of the past."