On-Demand for Dummies
I recently bought a book. An honest-to-goodness, printed-on-paper book. And, I bought it in a small, local bookstore.
This summer, I had been fascinated watching the Tour de France, and struggled to understand all the events within the overall event. I went to Amazon to find a book that would help, but quickly found that I really needed to thumb through the actual books to see which one I wanted.
So, I went to one of the big chain bookstores and found lots of books about Lance Armstrong and some about the Tour itself, but they mostly told me what I had already figured out. I decided my best bet was “Tour de France for Dummies” and that I would support my local bookstore—Written Words in Shelton, CT.
The store owner, Dorothy, explained that this was a print on-demand book. She could order it, and I’d have it within the week. This was interesting: I had thought that one-off, print-on-demand production was the province of Amazon, and was still not very prevalent. And, being a paper guy, I was fascinated. Where was it printed? What paper? What press?
Dorothy had some other on-demand books in the store and she showed them to me. She said they were different; the covers were glossier.
When my book came in it looked great. We compared it with other “Dummies” books, and they certainly looked alike. The bright yellow bands and the yellow type in “For Dummies” were an excellent color match, and the solid black background was perfect.
On a closer examination, the cover of the on-demand version did indeed look glossier, while the black on the offset version was a bit deeper. In addition, the text paper in the on-demand version was whiter and brighter, similar to the copy paper I use in my office.