Books on Demand

Yahoo News picked up This Story on Bookstores where customers pick out titles and have them printed in minutes. It would be like having an unlimited number of books in stock. Combine this with an E-Book reader and your library could put together an impressive collection in no time!``When we hand it to our customers, they say, \'It\'s a real book!\' We say, \'Of course it\'s a real book,\'\'\' said Roger Torres, manager of Majors bookstore in Houston. On March 15, Majors was among the first retailers to offer the service called ``books on demand.\'\'

Some analysts say the fledgling business of books on demand -- printing a single book or at most a few dozen at a time instead of thousands -- will be a boon to the U.S. book publishing business, which racked up $24 billion in 1998 sales.

Benefits include keeping alive thousands of out-of-print titles and cutting inventory costs while offering customers a new service.

But industry watchers warned it could harm authors since publishers would be able to hold on to book rights indefinitely by printing a few copies. Rights usually revert to authors when sales dry up and publishers lose interest in keeping them.

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