The Telegraph just published an article on Britain’s first “book vending machine“, their moniker for On Demand‘s local print-on-demand offering, the Espresso. The article offers a consumer perspective on what makes books produced from a local alternative, even at a higher price, an acceptable choice for some book buyers.
The Espresso is already up and running in a few locations, including the University of Alberta bookstore, and a new version debuted at February’s Tools of Change conference put on by O’Reilly Media. At the TOC conference, you could ask for a copy of one of the books queued for distribution and watch it get printed and bound for you. Nice use of plexiglass to make the short wait seem even shorter.
We’ve studied POD and blogged about its potential, but publishers have been generally slow to adapt their workflows and supply chains to take advantage of the technology. Maybe the POD industry would be better served taking a clue from their interested (and sometimes zealous) customer base and renaming its technology “Read on Demand”. I’d have to change all my tags, but that’s a small price to pay to see a good idea make the big time.