Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Although I'm a bit behind the curve with much of the "new technology", which is so dominated by reading digitally, I finally started looking at Print on Demand and its appropriateness for direct-to-consumer. A recent survey by Fairfield Research has shown that over 50% of the public still wants to read paper books. This is good for remaining retail stores, and Borders' new digital stores seem to be leading the way with print-on-demand for consumers. But what of the Espresso Book Machine, which debuted last year with such fanfare in The New York Public Library and the World Bank bookstore?

Well, take a look at the YouTube presentation. It comes off as a dinosaur (reminds me of the failed printing press Mark Twain failed to market about 120 years ago). There is a generational market for printed books and perhaps a market based on genre--literary novels may be read for a couple of more generations in paper--but the companies will have to be, well, a lot less dull about the process if it's going to catch on.

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