Open Question: What is the Best Use for Print on Demand?

PublicAffairs Books recently used POD services from Lightning Source to manage demand for Scott McClellan’s What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

From a Lightning Source press release (pdf):

PublicAffairs’ experience with this title demonstrates how POD can be used to supplement offset printings in specific cases in which demand exceeds supply for a short term. In this instance, the POD copies of the book will supplement large scale conventional offset reprints, which are underway.

PublicAffairs used POD as an insurance policy, and panelists in a Digital Custom Publishing session at BEA also noted POD’s use in short runs, niche titles and its importance as a Long Tail tool.

But do insurance policies, niche books and Long Tail plays represent the extent of POD’s opportunities? What options do you see for POD? How have you used it in your own organization? How will POD evolve? Please share your thoughts in the comments area.

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