Monday, June 23, 2008

Books - the next chapter?

If I had to list my greatest loves in life (apart from human ones) books and coffee would be jostling for position at the top.

So how cool can the Espresso Book Machine be?
(See here for article in The Bookseller.)
And how cool can Blackwell bookshop be for pioneering its use in 60 stores around the country?

This is how it works:
  • 1,000,000 titles
  • fully bound, printed to library quality
  • printed in 7 minutes while you wait
Now maybe I'm missing something (in which case I'm sure someone will let me know) but this looks like a win/win situation to me.
While bookshop shelves will still be fully stocked, the machine will enable customers to access a range of books comparable to those currently only available online.
(Yah boo sucks to Amazon.)

Obscure? Out of print? No problem.
Concerned about the environmental impact of book production? Just print the copies as they're requested.
Love the bookshop experience but hate not being able to get the book you want or at least having to wait for it to be ordered? Just punch it into the machine.
Frustrated as an author about the limited amount of time your book remains on the shelves? Can still be available years after publication.

Looks like a positive result for publishers, authors, booksellers, readers ...


Anonymous said...

I agree, and posted about this the other day, concluding exactly as you did that it looks good for all these groups.
However, a couple of authors added comments to say that it isn't so good from the point of view of agents or authors' rights, two topics that I don't know much about (know nothing about agents and nothing about book authors' rights). See Petrona for details.

Debi said...

Sorry I missed your post, Maxine. Checking now ...

Anonymous said...

It looks good to me Debi. Hope it works out for all.

Martin Edwards said...

Sounds very promising.
And I'm with you on books and coffee!

Debi said...

Check Petrona, folks. She's published a new post with links to a video of a POD machine in action.

Cool. Very cool.

And also check the comments in both posts for the wider debate.