Cambridge University Press (CUP) has kicked off a new print-on-demand project to make rare and out-of-print books available worldwide. The Cambridge Library Collection, which launched on Monday, uses digital scanning technology to reissue works readers would otherwise have to travel to far-flung libraries to consult. The imprint’s debut list includes writings by Charles Darwin as well as studies on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Handel, and Wagner.
According to the publisher’s Web site, the project acts on the advice of international experts to reissue works of “enduring scholarly value” along with books of interest to the general reader. “This ground-breaking new project embodies and extends four centuries of the traditional values of Cambridge University Press—careful selection, consistent scholarly excellence, and the exploitation of the latest publishing innovations to produce high-quality books at competitive prices,” said Rufus Neal, digital publishing development director at CUP, in a press release.
The Cambridge Library Collection currently offers 475 titles—one for each year since the Press received its letters patent from Henry VIII. The editors expect this number to grow to over a thousand by the end of 2009. Aside from being one of the world’s largest academic presses, Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest continuously operating publisher.