I've said it before and I'll say it again: Print-on-demand (POD) is only going to become more important in the future. Given the current state of the technology, it's almost impossible for a consumer to distinguish between a POD book and one printed the old-fashioned way.
Yesterday I received a copy of Get Content. Get Customers. (It's a great looking book, btw, and I'll be back with a full review shortly.) I mention it because it's a POD product and it got me thinking...
We love POD for a number of reasons. First, it provides a cost-effective option for the smallest of print runs (1 copy). Second, those printings can be turned around quickly, often the same day as the order. But what other features could POD vendors implement to help distinguish them from the offset printing world? How about personalization?
My copy of Get Content. Get Customers. came to me through Newt Barrett, one of the book's co-authors. When I flipped through it last night I found myself looking for a note from Newt, but I quickly remembered this copy came through Amazon, not directly from the author. Wouldn't it be cool if all the POD vendors would let authors add a small note to the inside cover (or other blank area) to personalize it for the recipient? Just a couple of sentences and a digitized version of their signature is all I'm talking about.
OK, maybe each author would only send out a dozen or so copies for review so it's crazy to implement something like this for such a small audience. But what about people buying the book as a gift for one of their friends? Wouldn't it be a nice touch if you could add a short note, photo and/or signature in that case as well? Then there's the person who just wants to have their name printed inside in case the book gets lost. Again, not a lot of info but something that could fit in a 3 x 3" box somewhere up front.
This would obviously require POD vendors to make some changes to their systems. I tend to think it would be a pretty simple modification to implement though and well worth the effort. Just think how much more personal that Father's Day gift from Amazon would be next year if they add this feature between now and then...
P.S. -- If you're looking to launch your own blog, please, oh please, don't choose Typepad as your platform. I had nothing but problems (yet again) with Typepad's editor while writing this post. Even though I'm a save-aholic I wound up losing my work twice because Typepad's system choked multiple times in the 30 minutes I spent on this. Blogger is a far more reliable option and it's free. Choose it instead, unless you'd rather pay $50/year for endless frustrations.