Today we took a wander over the river to Cambridge to see the new instant book machine at the Harvard Book Store (which has been named the Gutenborg!). Various publishing luminaries were there including our own Greer Gilman—who described her post-Harvard Library job search as looking for an iPod job in a PC world . . .—and we listened to them try and persuade us that this is the future. Well, part of it. Being historically minded, the first book they printed was the Bay Psalm Book, which was the first book printed in English on this continent, in 1640 in Cambridge, no less.
It was at once fun and anti-climatic as the machine ran off the book in the promised four minutes and . . . that was it. Other bookshops with these machines report that they do a bang-up business, more with local authors than with out of print books. After all, why buy some scanned copy of Sense and Sensibility for $8 when you can get a decently edited one for, er, maybe about the same. Hmm. Well, luckily the Harvard Book Store has a good used section downstairs.
Our books are available on Google Books (with various levels of access) who have a deal with the manufacturer On Demand Books so at some point our books will hopefully be part of the instantprint experience.
As with everyone else who came by to see the machine in action, we’ll wait and see what happens.