3D printers made the headlines in 2013 with their ability to print a plastic gun. Still relatively new on the scene, 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model.
3D printing is a sizable market, but according to the market research firm Gartner, it has even greater potential for growth. Due to the cost, however, most of the growth predicted for 2014 with 3D printing will be fueled by enterprise customers. Maybe some of these enterprise customers will be authors and publishers producing 3D book covers.
Yes, you read that right: 3D-printed book covers. The first one has been done. More may follow.
Riverhead Books, has printed the first-ever 3D book slipcover for a new novel by Chang-Rae Lee titled On Such a Full Sea. The company reported that each individual slip cover took 15 hours to print. The covers were made for a special-edition run of 200 signed copies for sale—a number partially decided by how many could physically be printed in time for the shelf date.
Being the first to print a 3D cover is novel and may well garner this author and book much publicity. However, until the price of 3D printing comes down, I doubt we will see a slew of new 3D book covers on new books.