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IDEA #2 – Print-On-Demand Books at Airports

Airports have just become ridiculous. I recently visited my father in NC — it was roughly 7-hours to get from NC to NY. It’s a 12-hour drive. Granted, it wouldn’t have taken 7 hours if there wasn’t a weather delay — luckily I had enough reading to occupy me. But I saw many people wondering what to do — particularly on the flight, they pull out the SkyMall magazine about 3 times during the flight.

A company has setup an iPod vending machine in the Atlanta airport and has reported selling $55,000 gross sales in a month. That’s pretty good.

What if instead of the limited “hits” (best sellers) books that the gift shops stock, you could have any book your heart desired? Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a touch screen kiosk and browse through thousands of books, find one you want, buy it, and within 5 minutes have it printed for immediate reading? Even better, what if you could access your Amazon.com wishlist through this kiosk and quickly select a book you’ve wanted to read, buy it, print it, and read it!

Technology costs are apparently dropping for this technology — but the big problem is the formatting of books. There are so many sizes of books — and if you print a large book on smaller pages, then either the font size needs to reduce, or the book needs to be relaid out to accommodate the new size. The nice thing about print-on-demand though is that you don’t incur inventory/housing costs — you don’t have to over-print (and guess) your demand; and you’re able to offer millions of book titles.

Last I heard, the machines were about $35,000 — but those weren’t built with the intention of being used as a kiosk.

Update: There’s apparently a kiosk that’ll be debuting this year in libraries — carrying 2.5mm titles (1mm of which are English). They claim that within 5 years they’ll be able to reproduce any volume ever printed.

{democracy:3}

  • Deborah Poland

    I would definately buy a book from a kiosk. Great idea.

  • Anon

    5 minutes might be too long to wait at the airport. Sometimes you have plenty of time, other times you are really pressed for time.

  • Raffy

    What do you think of the Sony readers? I think if might be easier to just download the book you want while you are sitting in your seat waiting for take-off.

  • rulepark

    I think it is a great idea, PICK ur format, ur cover page, ur type of binding. But what about the copyright? How is the books publisher going to allow this? Is Random House “not” going to the court for it?

  • http://n/a foreign version

    for inspiration and adaptable ideas, check out http://www.fuelfortravel.com/ I found this coz I’m in NL right now and it’s in the airport.

  • Tarun Bisen

    And what about copyrights?