The University of Michigan Library announced this week that it will make thousands of public domain books—including rare and one-of-a-kind titles—available for sale in print-on-demand editions under a new agreement with Amazon’s print-on-demand service, BookSurge. Maria Bonn, director of the UM Library’s scholarly publishing office, said the program will make 400,000 titles in more than 200 available, including books digitized through UM's own digitization efforts and books digitized through the university’s partnership with Google. The university will set the list price of each book, and the agreement calls for an undisclosed revenue-sharing split between BookSurge and the university.
A number of libraries have scanning programs, using BookSurge for selling reprints of pulic domain books, including Cornell University and Emory University and public libraries in Cincinnati and Toronto, but given Michigan's role as perhaps the most aggressive proponent of digitization, this effort is by far the largest. The Univeristy of Michigan library has opened its entire book collection to Google, opening up a massive trove of rare editions for reprint in softcover editions, ranging $10 to about $45 depending on length.
“The agreement enables us to increase access to public domain books and other publications that have been digitized,” said University of Michigan librarian Paul Courant. UM officials also confirmed that the public domain titles for sale in reprint editions are freely available from the library, or Google Book Search.