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Is the the future of printing in libraries?

This seems like an opportunity to enhance and improve service in libraries (and for some libraries to make revenue):

HP introduces printers with e-mail addresses, cloud access

“Hewlett-Packard has announced a new line of printers designed to work directly with smartphones and cloud services without the need for a computer intermediary. The printers are designed to take print jobs that are e-mailed to them or uploaded to a cloud service they can access. HP hopes the increased accessibility will encourage the use of printouts, as files can increasingly be carried on a single pocket device.

The new range of printers have Web access, either wired or wireless, removing the need for a print server or connection to a computer. They have touchscreens and e-mail addresses, and can print documents that are e-mailed to them from any source, as well as items from Web services like Google Docs. Users can schedule print jobs on the printers and set up regular print runs of their documents, like weekly menus or itineraries.

HP is also lining up a Web incarnation of the print service called ePrint Center, where consumers and companies can upload files, such as coloring book sheets or birthday card templates. Customers would be able to purchase the rights to print the files and send them to the printer without having to download anything—or even use a computer, if they have a smartphone.

Aside from home use, HP hopes that the printers may be set up for public use, as in airports or hotels, so long as someone is around to change the ink cartridges and fill the paper tray. How payments for files and printing materials would be distributed between HP, suppliers, and printer owners is unclear.

The printers range from $99 to $299, and the least expensive wireless version costs $199. They will be available to consumers sometime this month and will be offered to small businesses in the fall.”

Further reading
Hewlett-Packard press release (”

It is becoming more and more necessary to adapt to a different printing environment. I often see fancy printing facilities in airport lounges and in hotels where I stay where I can print from my room or anywhere in the hotel. It seems that this might go beyond boarding passes and offer services for anything we receive on our portable devices to be turned into a print copy quickly. Anyway, I can see this kind of printer showing up in a lot of places (Starbucks?) and setting expectations of other service points. It even gets past the issue of iPads that don’t print so well.


Posted on: June 26, 2010, 8:49 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. This is a very interesting development. The opportunity to eliminate the print management systems we pay a fair amount of money for in public libraries would be a benefit. Adapting this method of customer printing at the library would require re-thinking some of the logistics involved (e.g. how a customer might pay for the service, how print jobs are only released by the owner) but re-thinking isn’t a bad thing. I’m already trying to build support for moving away from MS Office on our public computers in favor of Docs so this service would be a natural component of that migration, too. Thanks for the post.

  2. Actually, I think personal printers will increase. When the size of a personal printer gets to the point where you can fit it in your pocket, it will be just like the Flip video. More and more people will have it and you’ll be able to print virtually anywhere.

  3. You failed to mention that HP also intends to use these printers to print ads that the users will then pick up and look at. This part of the concept is disturbing to me. We shouldn’t be outraged at the price of gas, we should be outraged at the price of ink. And here we would be paying for the ads with this absurdly inflated material!