On Tuesday, the University of Michigan announced it will begin offering books that are in the public domain (out of copyright) in print-on-demand format through BookSurge. The UofM estimated the initial group of books offered on Amazon will include 400,000 titles and will include books digitized for the university by Google.
BookSurge is the POD firm purchased by Amazon in March, 2005, about the same time Amazon acquired Mobipocket, an e-book software company.
According the UofM's announcement:
The agreement gives the public a unique opportunity to buy reprints of a wide range of titles in the U-M Library for as little as a few dollars. As individual copies are sold on Amazon.com, BookSurge will print and bind the books in soft-cover form.The University of Michigan has a two-year, non-exclusive agreement with BookSurge in which the university sets the list price for each title and then shares the revenue with BookSurge.
The university set up a FAQ site here. Among the more intriguing answers was this:
The university has an agreement with Google to . . . [c]reate digital copies of these books. Now the university has an agreement with a unit of Amazon to . . . [s]ell books and other items very efficiently on the Internet. We think both are great partnerships and the companies agree. In addition, the university will eventually share some of its proceeds with Google on the sale of books that were digitized by Google.Wednesday's Publishers Lunch had this to say:
Earlier this year, Cornell University had announced a similar program, making 80,000 out-of-print public domain titles available through Amazon.com through print-on-demand . . . And the University of Pennsylvania library has a partnership with scanning company Kirtas to to make 200,000 public domain books available in a "digitize-on-demand" program.Go here to read the UofM announcement.