I found this interesting article on printweek.com. The article doesn't explicitly mention print on demand, but it sure seems like that's what they're talking about:
Senior vice president Ed Febinger told the audience how the 37,000-staff company, which publishes education and consumer books as well as newspapers such as the FT, expects consumer behaviour and new technology to massively influence its printing requirements.
"We know it's going to be disruptive to us, so we need to make it disruptive to our printers. If the customer wants to get the book on an iPad, what am I going to do?
"For us it's don't print it until you need it."
He said that the company had taken the Pareto's Principle 80/20 approach to its operations, and with around 4,500 titles in its portfolio contributing 80% of revenues, the remaining 22,000 were subject to high fixed costs relative to their short runs in offset, making inkjet the alternative for many of them.
So how long did it take for POD to go from a niche production method to one of the world's biggest publishers adopting it as a core business model? Does anyone know?