And no, this isn’t a post about Terminator Salvation.

I watched an interesting info-video for the Espresso Book Machine:

The makers of the Espresso claim that the machine could lead to the revitalization of the small, independent bookstore. Theoretically, at least, having a million titles on demand by the end of this summer means that any store with an Espresso has the equivalent of fifty bookstores worth of inventory. Of course, that’s a bulk figure, which may not be a real indicator of how well the machine will be able to meet the requests of a variety of customers. But the implications for the immediate future are that a small bookstore with an EBM could compete with the big chains. Unaddressed is the question of browsing–which is undeniably part of the love of books–but Google Books and have both met that need fairly well. (Naturally they can’t replicate the physical pleasures of the book and reading, but I already spend more time than I should browsing amazon or Google Books.)

If this machine, or one like it, were to make available affordable (or, better yet, free) reprints of out-of-print books to academic libraries, it would revolutionize research.

Interesting to think about.