Marcus Sakey at The Outfit: A Collective blogged today about the future of books, "Books 2.0."
Have you heard of the Espresso Book Machine? Evidently, they’re placing them in between 10 and 25 libraries and bookstores this year, even the New York Public Library. You press a button, and it prints out a book with a color cover, fully bound, everything.
What would that mean to the industry? Less waste, the ability for publishers to take more chances without loss of profit ... but then also more work for the authors to stand out of the crowd, more work for the reader to find books. But every Starbucks could have a book machine. You grab a cup of coffee, print out a book, enjoy an afternoon.
But then whole bookstores might become 100% co-op. After all, there’s a book machine in the store. Right now it may not print royalty books, but I’m sure it won’t be long. Why risk printing books if they’re available in store at the touch of a button? So publishers might be taking bigger risks by having print runs at all.
Readers will still buy more of the books they see up front. And a little less of the ones on the regular shelves. And much less of the books not in the store. Hence, real estate on actual bookshelves would be more competitive.
Oh, who knows. It’s cool to watch it work, isn’t it?