Ezra Klein talks about printing books while you wait
in your local bookstore.
About five years ago I tried to sell this concept to a company that made high-speed page printers. They didn't get it. They couldn't understand the concept. I think the real problem was that someone talked to a publisher about the idea, and the publisher hated it.
Imagine going into a store and asking for any book ever printed, and in minutes leaving with a newly printed copy, in large print if you need it, in a foreign language if you want it.
In my design the system automatically calculated and posted the royalties to authors and a payments to the publishers. No inventory in warehouses, no returns, no removing covers and pitching books into the dumpster, a cover and the first few pages on racks for browsers.
I suggested starting with college bookstores and textbooks as a way to reduce the cost of going to college, and opening up to the broader market after the bugs were out. The files would be encrypted with a hardware key device to prevent theft.
It will happen and I will get the satisfaction of a "I told you so" e-mail to the guy who killed it way back then.