Big and small bookstores are enjoyable and relaxing places to visit. Browsing books that are neatly lined on shelves, making discoveries, and judging cover art can easily take an hour or so. The reality is, however, that if you are looking for a certain kind of book, you are more likely to find it on an online bookstore. Bricks-and mortar bookstores can’t compete against online stores with selection or prices, but they must find other ways to get people step in.
The Espresso Book Machine in Shakespeare & Co.
Large bookstores trust that cafés can draw customers in, but cafés are already everywhere – they are hardly the primary reason to visit a bookstore. When a bookstore has a café where customers can wait while the book they have ordered is being printed, it is whole new concept.
In New York, bookstore Shakespeare & Co has acquired an expensive machine that can print individual books at low price. The Espresso Book Machine is not a new invention, but the store concept of Shakespeare & Co is. Caleb Mason, who is a publisher and agent, visited the store in New York and he believes it can be the model for the bookstore of the future.
At Shakespeare & Co, you can buy a book that is not in the store. You order the book you want, and the Espresso Book Machine prints it for you while you wait. The store is located at 939 Lexington Avenue, New York.
In Paris, Presses Universitaires de France has acquired an Espresso Book Machine to compete against (none other than) Amazon. The Parisian bookstore wants to be able to deliver books to customers faster than Amazon that promises delivery in 24 hours. You can visit the Presses Universitaires de France bookstore at 60 rue Monsieur Le Prince in the 6th arrondissement.
Sure, we have ereaders where our ebooks survive without a problem even if we happen to drop the valuable electronic device into a pool, but what if someone still insists on reading printed books in such wet conditions? A team of book lovers, Bibliobath, has figured out a way to produce affordable waterproof printed books.
Bibliobath is raising money for their project on Kickstarter, so you can’t find waterproof books in bookstores yet, but here is how the team is going to make waterproof books reality.
Bibliobath has selected four classic books by (one from each author)
– Mark Twain
– W.B. Yeats
– William Shakespeare
– Sun Zi
The technical side of printing a waterproof book is that special materials have to be applied. Bibliobath has tested blank prototypes of the books, and has found the right materials that provide fully waterproof binding and paper. Also different inks have been tested at various water temperatures and soap types. The books will be made of synthetic paper made from polypropylene, which is fully waterproof but feels like real paper at a thickness of 0.085 mm.
Here is a video where Jasper Jansen presents the mission for the waterproof book.