Machines that can produce almost any work on request are being installed in British bookshops
Story by Richard Brooks and Shiv Malik writing in The Times
IMAGINE walking into a bookshop and being certain that even the most obscure title will always be in stock.
In October, the first British store will install a device called the Espresso Book Machine, nicknamed the ATM for books. Shoppers will be given a choice of more than 1m books - many rare or discontinued - to download and print in shops to take home as ready-bound paperbacks.
Some publishers are making plans to digitise their entire catalogue of titles, in or out of print. This will mean they can be printed either through the machines or on demand by the publisher.
The Espresso Book Machine’s backers claim it combines the virtually unlimited choice of the internet with the packaging of a conventional book. It also has the potential to make even the most obscure titles easy to buy.
Many shoppers complain that bookstores are overwhelmed by piles of heavily hyped books from big publishers, while more unusual titles become harder to find.