With a lot of help from the University of Michigan, Hewlett Packard on Wednesday unveiled its beta BookPrep project, which seeks to make more than half a million rare books available through a print-on-demand system.
Using imaging and printing technology from HP Labs, HP is able to automatically scan rare books and then clean up, brighten, and align the text. As of this writing, there are exactly 472,509 books available for purchase, most of which were published before 1923.
"HP BookPrep technology allows publishers to extend the life cycle of their books, removes the cost and waste burdens of maintaining inventory, and uses a full spectrum of technologies to deliver convenient access to consumers," said Andrew Bolwell, HP's director of New Business Initiatives.
In addition to rare books, HP said it is also extending its BookPrep project to publishers and content owners who want to offer their full catalogs of titles online, The Inquirer reports.