Someone’s going to figure this out soon, and for the sake of the industry, I hope someone jumps on it before those geniuses over at Amazon do.  To be most successful, it’s going to take the cooperation of several competitors, which means it’s probably doomed to failure.  It may take the clout of someone like Amazon or WalMart to really pull this off well.  Here’s the idea:

I’m on a website that has a really cool picture I’d like to have in hardcopy.  As the photographer/website creator, I’d love to offer this service, without having to necessarily going though the overhead of creating an online business myself.  As the customer, it’s a much easier way to get prints than today.  I (as the website owner) would love to have a web service sitting behind the site that says, I can send this jpg directly to your hardcopy provider of choice (Ofoto, Shutterfly, etc), and bill you for the image through them, so I get the money for the image, and you get the hardcopy of the image in the fashion you’re most accustomed.

·         Version 1 – “Print this image” to a specific provider

·         Version 1.5 – “Print this image” to any provider

·         Version 2 – the photographer can send printing instructions to the provider, or send the RAW image to the provider and let the provider do all the processing

I’ll have to find some folks at Ofoto and Shutterfly to discuss this – anyone know anyone there?