Publishers these days are investing considerable time and resources in digital-first and digital-only initiatives. Many of them are even abandoning print media altogether. And it’s only natural. Sustaining a print operation is expensive, especially when you’re seeing your print ad revenue wane. However, this doesn’t mean that print can’t offer interesting business opportunities for publishers. In fact, several publishers have been experimenting with print on demand for a number of years now, aiming to create additional revenue models as they transition into the digital space. This post will look at 5 creative ways publishers are using print on demand technology [POD] to complement their business objectives.
1. Selling high-quality photo prints
Magazine publishers are often sitting on a gold mine of visual content. National Geographic, for one, has amassed a collection of 11.5 million photos and illustrations over the years. The magazine offers a great example of a publisher that is currently using POD to sell some of its stunning photography as wall art online.
2. Selling prints of magazine covers and archived material
3. Selling customised print products based on digital content
Another great use of print on demand can be found in the sale of personalised print products. PediaPress, for instance, enables people to order printed books based on their favourite selection of Wikipedia entries.
4. Offering marketing material for authors
It no longer makes sense to invest a considerable amount in printing collateral for your authors up front. POD offers an interesting alternative. Reed Elsevier, in particular, has made fantastic use of Peecho’s API to let their authors “poster their articles” on demand, thereby enabling anyone who publishes in their titles to celebrate their publication and share it with the larger public.
5. Repackaging old content in special edition books
Publishers with a wealth of historic material have also repurposed it in special edition books. The Atlantic, for example, recently released a special Civil War anniversary book, in both digital formats and POD. The book includes actual Atlantic reporting from the era, an introduction by U.S. President Barack Obama and classic stories by Mark Twain and other American writers.
Know other interesting uses of print in the digital era? Share them with us in the comments or follow the conversation with Peecho on Twitter.
Martijn Groot is co-founder and CEO of Peecho, a cloud print provider that connects websites to the best production facilities worldwide. On behalf of their merchants, Peecho transforms digital content into photo books, reports, magazines, canvas prints and more.