Whatever your business, whether real estate, office supplies, or publishing, you can bet that your customers will be looking you up online before they talk to you or send an email. And even if you have an established relationship, they will still go online to satisfy their curiosity and compare you to others. Using technology has become almost second nature to many of us, and as natural as reading a newspaper or looking up a number in a phone book.
We also like to do things for ourselves, especially those of us who tend to be control freaks. (Who, me?) So it's natural to want to control the technology and have it do ever more tasks for us. A few years ago, email was amazing to us. A few years before that, if you were on the road and wanted to make a phone call, you had to pull over and find a phone booth. Is there anyone out there now who does not have a cell phone permanently attached to them, and likely as not reads email and surfs the Web on it?
Wherever you look, technology is changing the way we do business, the way we communicate, the way we spend our precious free time. For those of us who are avid readers, there's a new way to get a book: in a matter of minutes, printed just for us!
A few bookstores and colleges are testing the latest in on-demand book printing and selling. Able to produce any book out of hundreds of thousands in a database, The Espresso Book Machine makes it possible for you to have just the book you want…or the book you have written. At a bookstore in Vermont, an Espresso Machine has been used to print local author's books in short runs and for sale in the area. The machine that the store employees call "Lurch" has proven to be a great curiosity as well as the means for people to get those impossible-to-find titles and books that are in the public domain but rarely on bookstore shelves.
The Espresso Machine is a wonder to watch as it prints the cover and pages, trims and glues them together, and delivers a quality book in minutes. It was on the show floor at Book Expo America in New York and I watched with fascination as the various shiny metal parts moved deliberately around inside doing their book making. That's one of the fun parts – the machine has see-through sides!
Watch for it – there may be a different kind of Espresso Machine in a bookstore near you before long.