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Friday, May 19, 2006 - Page updated at 01:41 PM

Print starts program to print books on demand

Bloomberg News, the world's biggest online retailer, has started a program with publishers that allows out-of-print titles and lower-volume books to be printed and shipped on demand when consumers place orders.'s BookSurge unit introduced the program that will enable books to be published as they are ordered, the Seattle-based retailer said today in a statement. is helping publishers cut costs by eliminating the need for inventory. The Internet retailer acquired BookSurge in April 2005 to enter the print-on-demand book business. BookSurge has more than 10,000 titles, many of them out of print. is investing in companies to boost profit, which has fallen for five straight quarters.

"Customers are coming to detail pages and find they can't buy" an out-of-print book, Greg Greeley, vice president of worldwide media at, said in an interview. "We think this is a great proposition for publishers to address that," said. "It unlocks this great content that is out there that customers haven't been able to buy."

BookSurge's clients include Penguin USA and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has emphasized innovation, customer service and a broad selection to build the online retailer's business. The company bought CustomFlix Labs last July to allow customers to purchase DVDs that can be copied and shipped on demand. In April 2005, acquired, a seller of electronic books and the software for reading them on hand-held computers and wireless phones.

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