the help of a $1.5 million gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,
the University of Chicago Press has launched the Chicago Digital
Distribution Center (CDDC), the first short-run digital print
facility operated by an American university press. The digital
technology allows the Press to print on demand anywhere from
a single copy to several hundred copies of a title. Although
the retail prices of the short-run books are slightly higher
than average, titles in such small quantities are too expensive
to produce with conventional offset printing methods.
in late November, the CDDC can print up to 36,000 copies a year.
Titles that otherwise might be labeled out-of-print-and indeed
some scholarly texts that have been out-of-print for some time-will
now be stored as electronic files in a depository known as the
BiblioVault, to be called up when the need arises for a small
quantity to be printed. Eventually the Press will use the electronically
stored books to create a database available to scholars for
director Paula Duffy praised the Mellon Foundation for enabling
the Press "to continue to provide the content that universities
and their presses have invested in over the years." The
18-month grant will support the development of the CDDC and
the BiblioVault, as well as the electronic preparation of 5,000
books for future short-run digital printing.