Printcasting is a really innovative idea from the family owned The Bakersfield Californian newspaper – allow people to add their own feeds, then combine those with other (local or global) feeds to create unique and individual local newsletters and papers. Printcasting.com deals with the formatting and advertisement placement – and individual publishers and content providers (anyone who submits their feed to Printcasting.com for reuse) get the majority of the advertising revenues. The newsletters can be read online, while print editions can also be produced. As more people submit their feeds there will hopefully be more and more worthwhile content to publish alongside your own.
I couldn’t dig out all the information on the web-site at first but Dan Pacheco, the founder, explained a little more about how Printcasting works, and some of the issues around what happens if you decide to remove your feed (I had to ask, remembering all the furore in the past about Facebook’s data retention policies). Dan explained:
If you register a feed and give others rights to use your content on Printcasting, your articles may appear in other peoples’ Printcasts. If you later delete that feed, articles that appeared in other peoples’ publications will not be pulled (that would be incredibly disruptive), but the feed will no longer appear in the directory and publishers will not be able to select the feed and use articles from it after that point.
Which seems fair enough.
I don’t doubt that Printcasting will take off as a useful way to quickly and rapidly turn a blog into a newsletter – the extent to which advertisers will support this remains to be seen (though individual publishers can try and raise their own advertising, and Printcasting have made it a very simple matter for anyone to submit adverts to a publication). And while the whole point of Printcasting is to automate the newsletter publication, it seems to lack the ability to mix up and manually edit your publication – adding a few extra images for example. It is still in Beta (this is web 2.0 after all!), and new features are sure to be added – I hope editing will be one.
Meantime, if you want to download an electronic copy of the first print edition (!!!) of the LearningGames blog, you can find it here: LearningGames Printcast