I’ll Have Four Sesames, Four Poppy-Seeds, and One Copy of War and Peace

We recently covered the debut of the Espresso 2 print on demand machine, a mini-printing press that can be installed in a bookstore and produce paperbacks While U Wait. “Now you can visit a bookstore, order a book online, and pick your copy up after a leisurely cup of coffee,” we wrote. We’re keenly looking forward to the demo that Perseus is planning at Book Expo America. They will take a pre-written 10,000 word book and “edit, design, produce, sell, publicize/promote and publish live before fairgoers’ eyes,” according to Publishers Lunch and a Perseus release.

But – have you ever wondered why print on demand presses have to be restricted to bookstores? Just because they’re all about books? By that token, the only place you’d be able to get cash is a bank, but most of us can get it at an ATM on the street. As digital technology disintermediates middle agencies like bookstores, there’s no reason why you couldn’t set up a kiosk just about anywhere.

If you think outside the bookstore box, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that, as POD printing technology improves and miniaturizes, tabletop presses could be installed in a Wal-Mart, Macy’s or 7-Eleven. You just go to any neighborhood kiosk and browse Amazon or Barnes & Noble or another book retail website, make your selection, enter your credit card and order the book. Finish shopping or get a cup of coffee, then come back and pick up your bound volume, still warm like a fresh bagel. Hey, you can put POD presses in bagel shops too! Just don’t shmear lox spread on your newly minted paperback.

RC

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