Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another New Book Idea

Seriously, I don’t know how people come up with these new ideas. When I say “book idea,” I don’t mean plot. I’m talking a new conception of the book.

Wendy Coakley-Thompson wrote about his in the Examiner. The book is called The Obama Time Capsule: World History in the Making. It’s being done by Hewlett Packard (HP), so that right there should tell you it’s something totally new.

According to the Examiner, here’s how it works:
To make this book possible, HP is fundamentally changing the traditional publishing business model by utilizing an Internet-based platform that makes it possible to print customizable content on demand at low cost. By leveraging the Internet, publishers have fewer barriers to market - the need for large press runs and prepublication costs are removed. Additionally, by only printing what is necessary, excess inventory and waste are also eliminated. Once a book is purchased and personalized, the HP platform 'publishers the book' by uploading the customized pages to a designated print service provider (PSP), which then prints the book using HP's Indigo presses, where it is then bound and shipped directly to the buyer."
What does this mean for this book, specifically?
Using HP’s POD technology, millions of Americans are able to personalize The Obama Time Capsule by interspersing their own names, photos and messages into the book, alongside the work of the world’s leading photojournalists, graphic artists and writers like Arianna Huffington and Joe Klein. In this way, each copy of The Obama Time Capsule is unique.
Will people want to do this?
As of [Friday, May 22], Amazon.com lists The Obama Time Capsule’s sales rank as “#1 in Everything Else.”
What about you? Would you buy this book with the idea of personalizing it and making it “yours”?

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  1. While that particular "book" would not appeal to me enough to buy one, I do find it a fascinating concept. I will be watching, paying attention to how well it does and what affects it will have on the industry.

    Interesting post and information, Helen.

    The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

  2. It is an interesting idea. Don't know whether it might be just a one-time novelty or the start of something new, though.

  3. I think it's an intriguing idea and one I would consider.

    Karen Walker

  4. I'm not sure I would buy something like that - I'll have to learn more. However, I am wondering if it will give more credibility to the small publishers who also take advantage of the savings from POD type of publishing.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  5. It is interesting, Karen. I wonder, though, if the novelty will wear off after a while.

    Jane, I think it will. It should be enough that the small pubs are keeping up with new technology. But it always seems as though the big guys have to embrace something before it becomes standard and "right or okay."

  6. Very interesting concept! And nice to see someone 'big' focus exclusively on POD production, too.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  7. I'm with Jane. It's sounds like publishing out of control. POD is great but this sounds like tweaking to the max.

  8. I remember when I was a kid and you could order personalized comic books this way. The truth is, I really don't know if I would like something like this. Maybe for a gift to someone who might really like it, but not for myself.

  9. I hadn't thought of it as a gift item, Christina. I could see that.

  10. Actually I could see a lot of average folks wanting to be part of a "real" book about Obama. Like buying a brick for a building project that gets stamped with your name on it. Interesting concept. I love how you always seem to find these!!


  11. I agree with Marvin. I would not be interested is the book but the concept is worth watching.

    Since people are inserting works from "...the world’s leading photojournalists, graphic artists and writers like Arianna Huffington and..." are there not copyright issues?

  12. Jon, you can also insert your own pictures, apparently, so I assume you'd only be claiming copyright to your pics. Maybe only certain things are changeable. You couldn't change the caption on a pic to pretend it was yours and surely you couldn't change the author's words, but you could add your comments or a picture or write a note to the person your giving the book to, etc.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I'm not a big fan of peronalized things. If I want a scrap book with my own pictures in, I'll make it. And I never buy any book with a politician's or celebrity's name in the title or as an author.
    On the POD issue, I was at a writer's conference a few years ago where an agent panel suggested it was only a matter to time until the entire book industry goes POD for economic and environmental reasons.

  15. It's a great idea, but no, I wouldn't buy the book either. Now, personalized books would be great for kids. I think it would make them want to read more.

    Morgan Mandel

  16. Wow! Interesting concept - very new and different. I'll be watching to see how this plays out. I can see this idea catching on with the celebrity genre...

    Nancy, from Just a Thought…

  17. I don't think so.

    But I do like the idea that traditional publishers might move toward a POD business model. Save trees. Avoid the author heartache when hundreds (or thousands) of unsold books are remaindered and fed to giant book-eating machines.


  18. I don't think I'm interested in this book but I bet many people will be. POD is good, and this seems like an extension of it. I think it's only natural.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

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