Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Print-on-demand brings library collection off the stacks

Michael Duncan

A book on Darwinism by the other great theorist of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. Two preliminary essays to On the Origin of Species. Family reminiscences of Jane Austen gathered by her nephew. The correspondence between Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt. A study of the health of the rowers in the Cambridge-Oxford boat race between 1829 and 1869. A nineteenth-century Englishwoman’s impressions of American manners. Charles Dickens, as a journalist, reporting from America.

The Cambridge Library Collection is an exciting new collaboration between the library of the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publisher. Already a pioneer in the re-publishing of titles from its own backlist, Cambridge University Press is extending its reach to include other books which are still of interest to researchers, students and the general reader.

The books have been selected by leading scholars for their continuing historical value, and they are published in inexpensive high-quality print-on-demand editions. The first 475 books in the Collection cover subjects like Life in Cambridge, History, the Life Sciences, Literary Studies, Mathematics, Music, the Physical Sciences, and Religion.

Each page is scanned and the resulting files undergo a rigorous process of cleaning, in which any blemishes are removed to obtain a crisp and legible text. Each book has a new cover design and a specially written blurb which highlights the relevance of the book to today’s readers. The latest print-on-demand technology then ensures that the content of these rare and sometimes fragile books will be made available worldwide.

Inside Higher Ed interviewed our colleague Erin Igoe about this exciting project just a few days ago, read it here >>

The Press’ own video has cool footage of the University Library stacks! Plus, the robot scanners are pretty amazing.

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