Lightning Source has officially announced their partnership with the Espresso Book Machine company to create a new book distribution channel, via printing of books in-store using the EBM.
The EBM, an ATM for books, is located in bookstores, libraries and other sites. The Espresso Book Machine is the latest pioneering distribution channel to join the Lightning Source family of publisher-to-market pathways. The Lightning Source Espresso Book Machine Channel will give publishers the option to make available the books they have stored in the Lightning Source digital library, and have those titles printed, bound, and delivered at point of sale, on demand, in minutes.
This new move may help offer affordable distribution for Lightning Source customers in markets such as Australia, South Africa and Japan. It might also be seen as one of the few chinks in Amazon's armour as it consolidates its dominance of the book retail market, given that one of the keys to Amazon's dominance over bookshops is its ability to sell and quickly distribute obscure, lesser-known titles. Certainly, at this stage Amazon wouldn't have much to concern them. But one would have to think that with the inevitable advances in technology, this may in the end make Amazon obsolete - at least in terms of 'real' books (it's obvious that they are currently working hard on locking in the other 'advancing technology' book market, with the Kindle).
For the curious, here's a look at the Espresso Book Machine in action:
As an Australian publisher who uses LSI, certainly hope to see more of these machines in other major cities down under (currently its only in Melbourne) - it would definitely be an aid in reaching my market at home.