Cope and Phillips 2006

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"So, what is a book? Our old definition was focused on an object. Our new definition needs to focus on a function. A book is no longer a physical thing. A book is what a book does. and what does a book do?" (7)

institutions are central to this definition; book must have ISBN, copyright statement, etc. -- to be a book it must be "recognizable in the world of books as a book, either by official allocation of an ISBN and registration as a book, or by equivalent emerging forms of definition, such as registration as a book within the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) framework" (7)

"A book is not a thing. It is a textual form, a way of communicating. A book is not a product. It is an information architecture." (8)

Manfred Breede, Plus ca change... Print on demand reverts book publishing to its pre-industrial beginnings (27-45)

medieval books were commissioned, produced one at a time; seen as object d'art; physical beauty often more important than textual accuracy (28)

printing is based around the idea that one page is reproduced many times -- economies of scale

  • "The static image limitation is an inherent limitation ever since Gutenberg's invention and is explainable by the fact that these printing processes all require a 'fixed image' image carrier, which transfers the image to the substrate. Every time image content has to be changed, such as is the case when printing multiple signatures of books, the image carrier also has to be changed." The two inherent implications are: 1. the material and image carrier processing costs; and 2. the manufacturing costs every time an image carrier is changed." (31)
"The difference between conventional and digital printing processes is that, in the former process digital-electronic methods are used to create a physical 'fixed image' image carrier, while the latter uses digital electronic methods to image the substrate." (33)

conventional printing, multiple copies of the same sheet printed then gathered; digital printing, book printed one-off, then another book printed, etc.

"The combination of relatively low productivity and extremely low set=-up times renders digital printing devices suitable for extremely short to moderately short runs, or in other words for run lengths that are not economically feasible on high volume conventional printing presses." (35)

2,000 print run or less, POD is most economically viable

"For the first time since books were sold and produced in small quantities by manual methods, digital printing processes enable publishers to adopt the sell and produce business model practised by medieval book printers/sellers." (43)