In 1996 the National Academy Press, charged by Congress to publish works of the National Academy of Sciences, was one of the first publishers to post the full text of its front and backlist titles-about 1000 books at the time-on its Web site, free for Web visitors to browse and, of course, to buy.

"People thought we were crazy," said Barbara Kline Pope, NAP director. "But allowing people to browse online encourages paper-and-ink sales." Three years later, Pope told PW , more than 25% of all NAP's book orders come via the Web site (, representing about 10% of its total revenues.

Now NAP has redesigned and reorganized the site, adding more titles; Open Book, a new and flexible search engine specifically designed for the site; and Personal Agent, a customizable e-mail notification about upcoming books. The site is also designed with scaleable printing and e-commerce capabilities and will eventually integrate on-demand printing, subscription and micropayments, said Pope. "On-demand and course-pack publishing is the next step. We're just beginning to look at payment models," she said.

Open Book is a new search engine that allows very fast, full-text searching of the 1395 titles (more than 150,000 pages) on such topics as science, health policy, environmental protection, technology and commerce offered at NAP's Web site.

NAP uses commissioned sales reps, and its titles are available at 20% discount over the Web. Although NAP aims its titles at professionals, it also publishes books for the general trade under its Joseph Henry Press imprint. Nevertheless, titles like Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children's Reading Success (46,000 copies) and National Science Education Standards (200,000 copies) sell in significant numbers.

NAP reports $10 million a year in revenues, about half from book sales and half from providing publishing, printing and Web services to academic and university presses.