Friday, June 20, 2008

Blackwell to Implement Espresso Book Machine

News from The Bookseller that Blackwell will be implementing the Espresso Book machine in their 60 store chain of retail stores. From the article,

"The deal makes Blackwell the first UK retailer to install the EBM. The academic chain will trial the machine from this autumn at a yet-to-be-determined launch site, and will then roll it out across its stores. It is also looking at possible international retail sites and library supply for the machine."Blackwell c.e.o. Vince Gunn described the technology, the brainchild of former Random House US editorial director Jason Epstein, as "trailblazing and pioneering". He added: "From a retailer's point of view, even allowing for the first--generation technology and publisher challenges, this is a fantastic opportunity—sell to demand with no risk to inventory and an opportunity to create incremental revenue streams for ourselves and publishers."

"The EBM is already installed in 11 sites worldwide. It can access around one million titles, of which more than 600,000 come through a partnership with Lightning Source; the rest are in the public domain. It is also in talks with publishers about adding their content, although On Demand c.e.o. Dane Neller stressed the model was not to own content but to act a facilitator."

Clearly the EBM is rapidly growing in acceptance and existing users of the machines appear to be the biggest supporters and proponents of the technology. Close readers of this blog may recall my brain wave of book vending machines that I thought could be useful in non-traditional book outlets. Well this technology goes a significant step forward and I predict we will begin to see EBM in outlets outside the traditional publishing supply chain.

(Hat tip Brantley).

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