A novel idea: The machine that can print off any book for you in minutes
It promises to bring the world of literature to the ordinary book-buyer at the touch of a button.
In the time it takes to brew a cappuccino, this machine can print off any book that is not in stock from a vast computer database.
The innovation, launched by book chain Blackwell yesterday, removes the need to order a hard-to-find novel, or the wait to buy one that has sold out.
Even out-of-print works can be printed off in minutes.
The Espresso Book Machine will also benefit aspiring novelists who can walk in to a shop with a CD of their work and have their book professionally printed in minutes.
The cost of buying a book will be generally the same as if it were in stock.
Currently there are 400,000 books ready to be be downloaded. Blackwell hopes that by summer, one million will be available.
It has bought one of the machines for its store on Charing Cross Road in Central London, but if it is a success then more could appear at shops across the country.
I hope this is a succes and catches on over here. I understand that up till now POD has bee rather a subset of vanity publishing but if this works it could help rescue bookstores if the unit cost is really less than what Amazon can offer.