Imagine walking into your favorite neighborhood bookstore in a few years.
Except there are no books.
Behind the counter is a single, helpful employee.
In the center of the store is what looks like an oversized copy machine. A magic machine that can create a brand-new, library quality paperback of any title. Even those that have been out of print for years.
A 300 page book, printed, with a perfect cover, in under 4 minutes.
Amazon has dominated online book sales (and will for the foreseeable future).
The Kindle will dominate digital book (and magazine, and newspaper) delivery. (That’s Amazon 2, everyone else – 0 if you’re scoring at home.)
The Espresso Book Machine or EBM for short will fill the remaining gap, reversing publishing’s existing business model from:
print > ship > sell to:
sell > print
From the On Demand Books website:
Supply is matched with demand at point of sale for the first time in the history of publishing, eliminating returns and giving life to “long tail” titles. No book need ever be out of print again.
Publishers enjoy: Higher profit margins, greater unit sales, no more returns, monetized backlist, reduced inventories.
Retailers enjoy: Higher sales per square foot, faster inventory turnover, more customer traffic, no more out-of-stocks, no more supply chain costs, freed-up shelf space for faster moving, higher-margin inventory.
Libraries/Universities enjoy: Enhanced academic experience for students, more books available to patrons, new forms of revenue, the ability to print digital collections and perfect facsimiles of rare books.
The bookstore of the future isn’t in the future at all. It’s already here.
Venerable bookstores like the Tattered Cover in Denver will still exist but will cater to hardcovers, special editions and as hubs where tribes join to read & discuss books.
Maybe over an espresso.