RFID Tags Embedded in Books
RFID (radio frequency identification) technology was patented in 1973 and now is making its way into book publishing. Manufacturers and retailers, including The Gillette Co., Michelin and Wal-Mart, are embedding RFID tags in their packaging to automate checkout, track inventory and control theft.
A book manufacturer has developed a process that embeds the chips in the chipboard of hardcover books during manufacturing. BindTech Inc. in Nashville, Tenn., conceived of the idea to embed the Smart Guard technology serendipitously, while manufacturing DVDs last spring.
"We put an electromagnetic bar inside the [CD] case to prevent theft, but the bar interfered with the CD's graphics," says Dennis DeHainaut, vice president of sales at BindTech. "We had to think of a way to embed the bar … without interfering with the graphics."
The process translated easily to book manufacturing. The device is embedded into the cover by embossing it into or die-cutting a hole in the chipboard during manufacturing, which eliminates the after-market cost of applying the tags by hand to the outside or end leaves of the book, says DeHainaut.
BindTech made waves with the device when it unveiled it at a recent trade show for librarians in Boston. Librarians use RFID tags to reduce theft and currently manually place the RFID tags in book jackets. DeHainaut says BindTech hasn't made any licensing agreements with other book manufacturers, but says it's only a matter of time.
"It's only a question of when the demand for this product hits," he says. "[Obviously] we would not be able to manufacture all the books that would require these chips, so we will have to license the product."