earlier today I tweeted a link from the Times Higher Ed on print on demand in universities, which needs a little more comment.
Digitisation coupled with Print on Demand means that old, or obscure, books can be printed when someone wants them, meaning no inventory, no stockholding, no warehousing, and thus should substantially reduce the cost of scholarly publishing.
But of course low production and distribution costs don't really help if no one knows that the book is available, meaning that the whole PoD thing doesn't really happen.
In the last fifteen or so years the process of book buying has changed due to the rise of online retailers such as Amazon, and so has book searching - the Amazon catalogue now being used as a resource to track down books as their stockholding and marketplace listings have attained that critical mass that means just about everything can be got via Amazon.
And that's what is cool about university libraries getting their print on demand editions listed on Amazon - it makes them accessible.
It won't make them rich, it won't generate scads of custom, as let's face it, the books they're running as print on demand were never that popular, but then university presses were never meant to do popular.
Adam of Usk would have been chuffed!