Is This the Bookstore of Tomorrow?

Novelist Moriah Jovan has come up with a plan for a bookstore without books.

From Media Bistro's Galley Cat, Ron Hogan writes:

"You want a book you can hold in your hands," Jovan fantasizes. "You go to Quaint Bookstore and they do not have what you want in their meager stock. NO PROBLEM! You sit down at one of the book stations. You browse the computer catalog (probably Ingram or Baker & Taylor). You pick your book. You punch in your credit card number (tied to the store's point-of-sale system). The order goes directly to one of the Espresso (print-on-demand) machines behind you. You wait 10 or 15 minutes (by which time you've probably already ordered another 3 books), and out pops your book. You are GOOD TO GO."

Jovan's dream store also allows customers to test drive e-book readers, and maybe even keeps a few old-timey books around on a second floor, for those booksellers who aren't ready to let go completely. So what do you think? Is this where bookstores are headed? Is it where they should be headed?

Is a library without books next?


I'm not arguing against this future place existing because it will probably be here by Christmas, but it looks like bookstores will become like movie theaters, surviving on selling snacks and coffee and pens.

it looks like this will be bad for the consumer, since all book prices will become standardized... it might still be cheaper to get it at 40% off from Amazon.

I can't imagine making a special trip to an empty bookstore to sit at a computer and then wait for a book to print out. (A similar burn-on-demand idea was supposed to be the center of the record store of the future; now record stores simply don't exist.) I can imagine, however, ordering the book from home and having it delivered to me or available for me to pick up at a kiosk somewhere. Or I can imagine one or two terminals/printers being installed in coffee shops as a value-added service.

but considering that most book stores these days would most likely have the book you wanted it's not so much of an issue.
Most people will buy the books from the well known authors. They would buy the James Patterson, the Tom Clancy, the Tolkein, the Twilight series etc. Those would be in stock, in addition a large number of other books would be available, and thats just fiction. Factual books by definition have to cover a whole range so there will be many.

Now going away from that model totally makes the idea more possible. You go into a small shop unit in a mall or high street. You type in the book you want on a console and wait for it to be printed on the expresso machine.
Now that I can see happening, especially if you combine it with a Starbucks or Costa Coffee nearby. By the time you've had your break and your coffee your book is ready.
It could be manned by 1 or 2 people and depending on anticipated demand (as 10 minutes is still not that fast) you could have several machines.

You're at home and see a book you want on Amazon, you know it's not going to be available in your local bookstore. So you go to the Expresso bookshop when you pop into town to get your dry cleaning.

Will it replace bookshops? No. Will it be an option for large coffee shops and smaller sites where larger bookstores are not affordbale? Maybe. For the less popular non-top 10 best selling lists it's certainly more likely.