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Indie Stores Install Sprout
Calvin Reid -- 6/5/00

Continuing its bid to install its print-on-demand technology in bookstores, Sprout, an Atlanta-based digital book wholesaler, has reached agreement with 15 members of the Independent Booksellers Consortium to install its technology in their stores by the end of the year.

Sprout has already installed its systems in Majors Scientific Books in Houston and in a Borders and a Follett's distribution center. According to Henry Topping, Sprout cofounder and v-p of business development, the technology will allow a customer to special order a book and get the title "in less than 15 minutes," from a catalogue of 14,000 to 15,000 POD titles. Pat Brannan, CEO of Sprout, said, "Expansion into the independents is the next step in making our print-on-demand solution available to every bookseller." Topping said POD systems would be installed "in batches beginning this summer and should be in all the stores by the end of the year."

The 15 IBC stores are Powell's Books, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Shaman Drum, University of Wisconsin Bookstore, Kepler's, Prairie Lights, University Bookstore (Seattle), Atticus, Bibelot, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Boulder Books, Harvard Bookstore, Northshire Bookstore, Page One Books and Vroman's Bookstore.

IBC represents 40 stores, and Lori Tucker-Sullivan, IBC executive director, told PW that IBC members were asked to volunteer for the program. She said the agreement aims to make independent bookstores "a part of the advancement of this technology. It's a great example of how paper and e-publishing will work together in the future." Tucker-Sullivan also noted that Sprout and IBC will work together to promote and support the stores involved.

Sprout offers the stores the opportunity to either purchase the POD equipment or lease it while Sprout takes a larger percentage of the book sales.
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