Information Today
Volume17, Number 2 • February 2000
Barnes & Noble Selects IBM as Provider of Print-on-Demand Technology

Barnes & Noble, Inc. has announced that IBM will provide Barnes & Noble and with the technology and manufacturing components for print-on-demand facilities in its distribution centers. This technological capability will enable the company to offer customers who shop its retail stores or online site a vastly wider range of titles, including e-books, without the company having to invest in any additional physical inventory. The first facility will be operational in the Jamesburg, New Jersey, distribution center by this spring.

The print-on-demand process is a method for printing books efficiently and cost-effectively, one copy at a time. From start to finish, the entire process takes under 5 minutes. The technology also makes books available in all electronic formats. Barnes & Noble and IBM have been working with a pilot group of publishers over the past few months, and Barnes & Noble intends to bring its range of digital services to the entire publishing community early next year.

Barnes & Noble’s arrangement with IBM will also support its recently announced investment in, the publishing portal. Barnes & Noble has a 49-percent ownership interest in iUniverse, whose portal offers recognized authors and first-time writers editorial services, marketing support, distribution, and print-on-demand technology.

“Our agreement with IBM enables us to offer publishers a solution for both keeping their entire publishing lists active and bringing back into print titles whose low sales prohibited them from keeping inventory on the shelf,” said Ken Brooks, vice president of digital content for Barnes & Noble. “We can also provide state-of-the-art text processing and conversion services, so it all adds up to a complete turnkey solution for publishers. Barnes & Noble chose IBM because its print and server technologies produce the highest quality and enable us to store and manage massive amounts of content in a completely secure digital environment.”

IBM will provide Barnes & Noble and with a comprehensive integrated solution made up of Infoprint printing and workflow technologies, scalable servers, and a software infrastructure. This integrated solution manages the entire process from store or online order entry, through secure library storage, the print-on-demand book printing process, electronic-book formats, and delivery. This critical infrastructure also supports retail store printing, and electronic-book management and distribution. More information about the IBM Printing Systems division is available at

Source: Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York, 212/633-3300;

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