It’s so exciting and odd that Book Vending Machines are now on the immediate horizion. I remember using a microfiche in the early 90s to look up books, with a very unhelpful DOS inventory system, at the first bookstore I worked at. We used Library of Congress catalogs as well. Hence, looking up a book for a customer took a few minutes, ones that were exciting and satisfying. There’s nothing more entertaining than trying to find the answer to an unexpected question.
As of 2009, there are at least two types of book vending machines, one that is aptly labeled the Espresso Book Machine and the other a Book Vending Machine. The difference between the two is one prints books on demand, with the other presenting an array of books for purchase (already printed) in the classic candy/snack machine approach.
Coming from the old days of microfiche, clunky reference books, and not-so-user friendly DOS inventory system, I am astounded and amazed. It’s incredible what technology has done for publishing, by providing easy accessibility to information, let alone MORE books. Before all of these advances, my personal list of books to read was much shorter. Now the list is extremely long, and I am fully cognizant I’ll never reach the end of that list.
I am seriously looking forward to the day one (or both) of these machines reach the Twin-Cities. Plus, I look foward to seeing how this will affect book sales #s, as well as increase readership #s for the authors who get to participate in these programs.