Print-on-demand services have been around for a while now (i.e. Sarah Wilson’s first run of IQS) , enabling publishers and authors to save money by only printing copies when an order of their book has been placed.
However, it could be carried across to another of our favourite forms of reading material – Magazines – with the recent news that Sweden-based Meganews is now bringing it to consumers, by developing a machine that prints high quality copies of glossy magazines in minutes.
The company recently launched its service in Stockholm, where passersby could choose from a range of popular titles, pay the standard cover price by credit card and wait around two minutes for their copy to be printed.
Using technology provided by Japanese printing firm Ricoh, the magazines are created from digital files of the latest edition of each title and reproduced with full color and images to a similar quality to those made by traditional digital printing presses. The machines are connected to the web, allowing instant updates when a new issue is ready for the public or a correction needs to be made. For publishers, this means none of the costs involved in upfront printing, distribution or returned stock. There is also an obvious environmental benefit to this type of production, cutting unnecessary paper usage and subsequent recycling of unused copies.
As well as providing benefits to major magazine publishers, the concept could provide niche titles a way to sustain their business, broadening the industry’s landscape. The question is how long do we think it will take for it to reach Australia…and could it work?