Amazon Patents Brick-and-Mortar Storefronts
Amazon has received an unexpected patent for tiny little physical storefronts that will soon be popping up all over America.

Amazon isn't talking about what's gonna go in these buildings and are letting analysts speculate that they are some kind of "pick up" station that will be bad for business.

From The Street:

"The company essentially sells commodity items at terrific prices to drive revenue growth and free cash flow," says Charles Wolf, analyst at Needham & Co. "Physical stores would in no way contribute to this."

These stores aren't going to be "pick up" stations. They are either going to be:

1). Brick-and-mortar Kindle stores that will sell ebook readers and accessories to the masses.

2). Espresso Book Machine hutches that will let people print Amazon books faster than a photocopy of your face. You will be able to walk in, demand any book from Amazon's extensive catalog, and they will print it up for you while you stand there with your gum in your mouth.

The storefronts will probably be both of these.

A company called "Lightning Source" is running a pilot program with On Demand Books, makers of the Espresso Book Machine. Publishers like W.W. Norton, Macmillan, Hachette Group, McGraw-Hill, and Simon and Schuster are already involved.

From the "On Demand Books" press release about the Lightning Source deal:

"We see the Espresso Book Machine as an innovative and exciting way for publishers to get their books out into the market," said David Taylor, President of Lightning Source. "There is clearly a place for the in-store print on demand model in the emerging landscape of globally distributed print."

in 2004, Lightning Source and Amazon lost a 15 million dollar lawsuit for patent infringement against the On Demand Machine Corporation, which filed for a patent to sell single-books at point-of-sale.

Now they are friends.

Lightning Source already uses Amazon as a print-on-demand distributor. Neither "Lightning Source" nor "On Demand Books" can afford to buy property. These three companies are about to go into "business" together to publish and distribute books instantaneously.

On Demand Books provides the machine and the patent. Amazon provides the clout and the consumer confidence. Lightning Source provides the publishers until Amazon can steal them away with a better deal.

Pretty soon you are going to be shopping your manuscript around to exactly one company.

And if you piss Amazon off, *DELETE*

Posted by miracle on Mon, 01 Jun 2009 10:34:44 -0400 -- permanent link

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