Allegedly, Amazon is looking at doing more print-on-demand of titles, rather than maintaining warehouses full of books. If so, it's going to be directly impinging on Lulu's business model.
More to the point, it looks like a shift in the way that future book publishing takes place. Assuming that this trend progresses, I can see the following happening:
- Most titles will become print-on-demand.
- The big book presses will still print the majority of books. If this seems to contradict (1), that's because a small number of titles will have very large print runs, and it will still be more efficient to use big presses for these bestsellers.
- Presses won't even be cranked up except for very big print runs. Even so, when sales tail off, they'll switch to PoD
- Specialised printers will remain. There's no way these presses could do Folio Society type stuff.
- Books will no longer go out of print.
- Writers will negotiate limited term licenses, instead of having reversion occur when a title does go out of print.
Of course, digital paper is the wild-card here.