Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Savvy Self-Publisher, June-July 2008


Blackwell's, a leading British bookseller, will soon start
printing books on demand in its stores while customers wait:,,2286818,00.html

The Espresso Book Machine can store up to 400,000 titles in
digital form, whether or not the books are on the shelves.
Compare this to a "Superstore" with 100,000 to 200,000 books
in stock.

When a customer requests an EBM title, the device prints a book at
a speed of 40-80 pages per minute while the buyer waits, perhaps
browsing books on the shelves or enjoying a cup of coffee.

This isn't just good business; it has profound implications on
the future of bookselling. Most notably, Blackwell's stores
will be able to offer vast numbers of books that would otherwise
be out-of-print or out-of-stock. This relieves today's unhealthy
pressure to stock only hot new titles -- often at the expense of
books with legitimate literary merit but less commercial appeal.

Until now, POD has relied on a few remote printing facilities
that ship books to stores a day or two after they are ordered.
This is much better than filling warehouses with mountains of
unsold books in the vague hope that someone will buy them --
but it lacks the power of instant gratification afforded by
the EBM's partnership with a major bookseller like Blackwell's.

As early as 1999, when POD was in its infancy, Poynter and
Snow predicted that in-store POD could one day become the
"silver bullet" that combines the best of both worlds: the
huge economic advantage of avoiding unsold inventory, in
combination with instant, in-store availability.

Imagine a world where every worthwhile book ever written
is available in minutes at your local bookstore! This
dream is now an important step closer to real life,
following this possibly historic announcement. FMI:

1 comment:

The Self-Publishing Review said...

I just commented, but my internet connection intervened. Apologies, therefore, if I repeat myself.

Look. This isn't going to happen any time soon. There's not the space, the technology is nowhere near ready, and bookshops are for browsing in. Why would anyone buy a book they'd not seen when there were thousands of books waiting on the shelves, ready to be looked at?

It's been talked about for years, but then, so has the second coming and that's still not happened.

Your link didn't work, by the way.