By Dennis Abrams
On Demand Books, the makers of the POD Espresso Book Machine (which can currently be found in less than one hundred bookstores nationwide), has announced partnerships with Eastman Kodak and ReaderLink Distribution Services that could theoretically change the way books are purchased.
As reported by the Huffington Post, On Demand’s POD technology will soon be made available to retailers who have Kodak Picture Kiosks, currently found in 105,000 locations worldwide, including drugstores and retailers such as CVS, Target and Sam’s Club.
ReaderLink, a major book distributor, plans to bring book machines to an additional 24,000 retail outlets, as well as supplying commercially published titles to be printed on demand from the machines.
Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand said that the Kodak connection will allow customers to create and print their own photo books in stores, in addition to printing self-published titles along with any of the 7 million titles that are currently available through their system.
“You should be able to walk into a store, pick a title, [and then] pick it up after you’re done shopping,” Neller told the Huffington Post. “We like to think of this as digital-to-print in retail locations.”
But according to Matthew Daneman of Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the deal comes with one big catch. Kodak is now in the midst of selling its photo kiosk business as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Neller is quoted by Dameman as saying that the Kodak agreement was signed before the Rochester printing and imaging company announced just last month that it had decided to sell a set of its businesses, including photo kiosks, document scanners, and still camera fill operations. He said that On Demand’s hope is that whatever company ultimately purchases Kodak’s kiosk operations will continue the Espresso arrangement.
The current plan is for Espresso/Kodak hybrids to be rolled out at the same time as Kodak turns its kiosk business over to a new owner: Kodak has said it hopes to find buyers for all its for-sale operations by mid 2013.”
“We’re going to move with all deliberate speed,” Neller said.