Yesterday I found this article about “Espresso” Book Machines on Publisher’s Weekly.
For those unfamiliar with the term, espresso book machines are essentially print-on-demand kiosks located in traditional book-and-mortar bookstores. That Barnes and Noble is testing these machines at their Union Square store in Manhattan doesn’t surprise me at all. It is a very long time coming and a market trend I saw as the future of paperback publishing many months ago. As a former Brooklynite, I appreciate the specific store B/N is testing these at. It’s a great location (right next to Petco) that gets extra traffic from the famous Union Square farmer’s market which is always crowded and directly across from Beth Israel hospital.
Barnes & Noble is the latest bricks-and-mortar bookselling operation to become involved with the Espresso Book Machine. The country’s largest bookstore chain recently began a test of the system at three of its outlets—its New York City store at Union Square plus stores in Paramus, N.J, and Willow Grove, Pa.
“[The pilot] is part of our continued program to grow our base of machines. We’re delighted to be testing our machines in Barnes & Noble. We’ve gone from indies to multi-retailers,” said Dane Neller, CEO of EBM maker On Demand Books.
Books-A-Million installed two Espresso machines last November and the print-on-demand system has been used by a number of independent booksellers for several years, although some store owners have replaced the Espresso with other options.
Neller told PW that On Demand will continue to look at other retail channels, including those outside the book business. By the end of the year he anticipates having close to 100 machines in retail stores.