I just got off the phone with Karina Mikhli at On Demand Books. I called to ask some questions about this news item:
“Eastman Kodak Company, the worldwide leader in retail imaging solutions, with a global footprint of 105,000 KODAK Picture Kiosks, On Demand Books, and ReaderLink today announced they have partnered to revolutionize the way all types of printed books will be marketed, sold and produced at point of sale. The venture brings together On Demand Books’ innovative, in-store Espresso Book Machine® to national retailers integrated with KODAK Picture Kiosks, giving consumers a full-service digital-to-print media center for all their custom print needs: from photo books, custom/local self-published titles, to educational supplements, and more.”
We publish both Scags at 7 and Scags at 18 in Print-on-Demand format because many of our readers aren’t ready for the e-book era we live in. On-Demand books fill an important niche. This announcement of a partnership with the folks at Kodak and ReaderLink had come out in September but nothing more has been publicized and I was extremely curious.
The conversation was cordial and Ms. Mikhli was forthcoming with how things aren’t yet rolling out. You know, IT to IT have much to discuss and in their own language and this could go on for some time. That is what I heard.
I wanted more definite answers. I wanted to ask about Christmas–could we send our book buyers who didn’t live near a bookstore to CVS to purchase Scags at 7 or Scags at 18? What about color? How would costs be reflected?
Some answers are never satisfying. They don’t seem to think that Christmas will be the point when I can announce to the book buyers in towns without bookstores that they can rush to their CVS and buy an on-demand book. In fact, this is the kind of arrangement that I didn’t quite understand from the press release. These retailers are going to have the Espresso Book Machine in their stores so they’ll need room to accommodate the machine and On Demand Books implied that they’ll be sending trained users of the machines to these locations.
(See how the Espresso Book Machine works in this interesting video:)
That means it won’t be the 105,000 stores as advertised in the press release and it most likely won’t be CVS but WalMart. There goes my ad campaign: “Meet me at CVS for a Book Party.”
There will be color though. That is something that wasn’t available before in POD and if that is true, the photo I would like to add to Scags at 30 may be possible and available in the POD version as well.
The biggest take away of all was the comment Ms. Mikhli made regarding the Big Six Publishers–they are beginning to see the light of this technology and may be coming on board. If that is the case, these machines will spread like wildfire, that is what On Demand Books must be thinking. Not unlike what we have seen already with the ways in which the Big 6 have rushed into the e-book business–the drive to POD will be quite clunky and difficult and not necessarily in the reader’s best interest. However, it is worth the wait to see if by early next year we can promote our books at a CVS near you.