Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
Technology never ceases to amazes me. Especially technology that helps revive a struggling bookshop.
The Librairie des Puf, a bookshop in the Latin quarter of Paris, is a strange kind of place because there are no books. Instead, there are tablets and an Espresso Book Machine; the combination of the two lets you print a book of your choice in the time it takes to drink a coffee.
Image © Alastair Horne
With access to over three million titles and growing, the reader holds a digital library in their hands.
In an area of Paris where rent hikes forced creative businesses to shut their doors, Librairie des Puf closed in 2014. But the Espresso Book Machine meant the bookshop saved on space, it eliminates delivery and shipping costs, as well as the need for big print runs. The on-demand model is much more cost-effective – niche out-of-print titles, which the shop previously wouldn’t bother with as they’d only sell a few copies a year, can get a new lease of life and Librairie des Puf was able to reopen in March 2016.
I wonder if this is the bookshop of the future? Or if there will always be a return to a trusty paperback?