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Create Your Own Digital Library - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 30th, 2003

01:53 am - Create Your Own Digital Library

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Date:July 30th, 2003 12:36 am (UTC)


Incidentally, I have an idea for a business. You are free to steal this idea if you want.

I propose: a bookstore where you can get any book you want, any book in the world, in print, out of print, whatever, in under 15 minutes at a reasonable price. The place would be like a Starbucks-type coffee shop basically, with computer kiosks in one side where you call up all the libraries on earth to make your book selection. You choose a few options such as "hardcover or softcover", "font size" and go sit down to enjoy your delicious (high profit-margin) espresso beverage and confection of choice.

The back room or basement looks more like a Kinkos, with high-speed printing and binding machines rapidly churning out individually-customized books for the patrons. Within 10-15 minutes you get your book delivered to your table, and you can recline on one of the many soft chairs to read.

I have not researched printer technology so I'm not sure how fast a personalized book can be printed and bound, or at what cost. Also you would have to work out agreements with all the major publishers which might make the service too expensive. You have to be able to get the latest and greatest bestsellers or people will just go to Barnes&Noble regardless. However if this is feasible it would be really interesting.

I myself would be the type who would get addicted to the feeling of reading a new book "when it's still warm".
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Date:July 30th, 2003 03:37 am (UTC)

Re: incidentally

I think this is a very good idea. I can see there
is a market for this kind of book printing service.

The challenge is to make the whole process
automated and integrated. You know printers
and computers are not always compatible. For
this reason, we need at least one person in
standby to watch the whole process in case
something goes wrong.

I know that the magazines are printed locally.
Whenever a publisher releases issue of a
magazine, they send out a template to the local
print shop. I am wonder how easy it is to
modify such a template. Perhaps we can take
a trip to a print shop that prints magazines
for publishers.
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Date:July 30th, 2003 09:54 am (UTC)

Re: incidentally

Yeah, i wasn't recommending that it be unmanned. Due to the various paper trays needing to be filled, etc., there would certainly be an employee or two making sure everything was running. patrons wouldn't use their own computers - the bookstore (chain) would have access to all the books in e-book or postscript format. hopefully within the first few years they'd get all the major publishers to use a standard format to prevent trouble
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Date:July 31st, 2003 04:28 am (UTC)

Re: incidentally

I think the most challenging part of this is to
convince the publishers to cooperate. They
use different kind of software to edit and
store templates of about-to-be-published books.
To make them customizable is going to take time
and energy, not to mention the risk of having
the templates stolen. I think they will go
along with it if there is a huge benefit for
them - money. If the market research tells
them that they can make more money, then
they will rush in, like a pirate seeing a
ship full of gold.
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[User Picture]
Date:July 30th, 2003 12:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the idea. Do a search for "books on demand" or "print on demand" and you will find several companies working on the development of "book making machines" intended to do what you suggest.
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