Print-on-demand may be coming soon to a Books-A-Million near you

Espresso Book Machine

Books-A-Million, the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain after Barnes & Noble (not that there’s a lot of competition these days) is tiptoeing into the print-on-demand market: The chain signed a deal with the print-on-demand company On Demand Books to install an Espresso Book Machine in its Portland, Maine store. A second Books-A-Million store will get an Espresso Book Machine “at a later date.”

“This offering means something special for BAM customers, who will now have access to a virtual inventory of seven million titles instantly available to them,” Terrance G. Finley, CEO of Books-A-Million, said in a statement. “Our customers will also be able to print their self-published works or any user generated content, photo books, recipes, etc. in a matter of minutes and pick it up in our store.”

Two stores isn’t huge, but this is the first time that On Demand has partnered with a national bookstore chain; up until now, it’s primarily worked with libraries and independent bookstores like NYC’s McNally Jackson and the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. (It was also supposed to make its POD technology available through Kodak Picture Kiosks in retail chains like CVS last year but the rollout has been delayed, The Digital Reader reports.) Books-A-Million has 253 stores in 23 states and Washington, D.C., so it’s possible that if machines in the first two stores work out well, other stores could get the technology as well.

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