Friday, September 19, 2008

Book-Gasm

From SMH today:

'Imagine walking into a book store and knowing that even the most obscure or out of print books will always be in stock. Angus & Robertson today became the first Australian book chain to install the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), capable of printing, trimming and binding a paperback book on demand within minutes.

It was dubbed an "ATM for books" by Time magazine, which last year named it one of the best inventions of the year.

Shoppers will initially be able to choose from several hundred out-of-print or difficult to get hold of books, but Angus & Robertson said the range would expand daily, reaching 10,000 within 18 months. They would cost the same as the current shelf price of paperbacks or less, the retailer said.This is significantly more than the 20,000 physical books a typical Angus & Robertson shop can hold, helping the chain maintain its competitiveness in the face of significant threats from online sellers such as Amazon. "Print-on-demand, alongside the internet, will be one of the most important developments aiding accessibility of books to the public," Angus & Robertson managing director Dave Fenlon said. Arch-rival Dymocks said it would launch a print-on-demand system within a year but was reluctant to do so today because of the narrow range of books available for such a system.'

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