I think the machines referred to are actual print-on-demand machines whereby a customer can request a book and, upon payment, the machine cranks it out. From what I understand, they;re expensive so not many stores have them. But think about it. The current business model whereby the store can return unsold books for credit (this dates from the 1930s) is ridiculous. Can you imagine a car dealership doing this? Of course not.
But if the store ordered only one or two copies of a book to have on the shelf ... instead of carrying 10 copies of Dan Brown's latest ... there would be more shelf space for less famous writers.
It's sad to hear comments like "dump all the bookstores." There are few things nicer than wandering into a bookstore and browsing and sampling and most of all, holding a real book in your hands. I've got a Kindle and I love it, but I also like actual books.
It seems to be the way of the print format at the moment. As much as I love my Kindle, I am still buying paperbacks, too. Once books have gone, it will be too late. I received the proof of my first novel yesterday and I have to say, I doubt the thrill will be matched by the e-version.
Very sad. Progress is progress, I suppose. I honestly believe that casual readers will always buy books because the outlay for an e-reader will not appeal. The question is; will that be enough to keep book shops in buisness.
In the UK, Waterstones have admitted that closures are coming and they have no competition left to speak of in the average town or city. Ottakers, Borders, Daltons... they have all gone from British streets. WH Smiths are part of the Waterstones group and only stock best sellers. If you want anythign remotely 'cult' you won't find it. The rest are indies that I really hope will survive through passion, quirk and sheer force of will but my head says it is unlikely, at best.
The end result is that diversity in taste is dilluted to the point that celeb memoirs will be the pick of the available stock. Now, THAT gets on my....
Borders in New Zealand was purchased by The Red Group in Australia but the store is not very busy and the price of many paperbacks are way too high. Most are around the $50 mark. Most books in NZ are $39.95. Before the recession no one really cared, now...it's a different story.
I love my Kobo and most of my books are epub these days but there are some indie books you want and they are only available in print. Bookstores and publishers will eventually change, they'll be forced to. Evolution can't be stopped unless the Mayans are right and 2012 is the end........