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Print-on-demand newspaper kiosks

Waste less ink
  (+4, -3)
(+4, -3)
  [vote for,

Early in the morning, sometimes I see a man emptying stacks of unbought newspapers from a dispenser outside my apartment into the back of a big, dumpster-esque pickup. I assume this happens in other places, as well, including the various human-run newsstands and mall news kiosks all over.

Now, I am pretty sure that these unused papers go straight to the recycling plant, which is neato and super-great. However, why expend the energy to recycle them and waste the ink needed to print them in the first place?

I propose that, in select locations, merchants install kiosks which have a ready supply of blank newsprint paper and incorporate a cheap printer of some sort. When someone wished to purchase a dollop of bad news, he or she would simply deposit their money as usual and pick up the paper when it dropped conveniently into a basket at waist level.

The machine would keep a reserve supply of papers so the user wouldn't have to wait to get their paper. When it detected that the number of papers was getting low, it would quickly print up five or six advance copies and plop 'em into an internal dispenser.

Obviously, this would only work in public places where there was a someone around to watch the machine, to prevent vandalism. However, in places like the inside of gas stations and at airports, the responsibility for keeping a casual eye on the kiosk would probably not be overly much for the adolescent hovering about the counter, no matter how stoned or engrossed in Immanuel Kant he or she happens to be.

Note: that last statement implies no bias toward either of the listed occupations... <g>

jester, Oct 01 2001


       Half-baked in Babylon5.
DrBob, Oct 01 2001

       Newspapers are printed on the cheapest paper containing a very high proportion of recycled paper, the total opposite of inkjet paper. besides, how long are you going to wait at a kiosk for your paper.
darndog, Oct 01 2001

       I used to work at an offset print shop that printed a weekly newspaper, so I can tell you that's it's a pretty complex undertaking - not one that could conveniently be carried out in a box.
snarfyguy, Oct 02 2001

       Digital printing would work, except for the £100,000 needed for each instalation, high bandwith connection to the newspaper company and the armed guards you would have to put around it to stop theft.
darndog, Oct 02 2001

       Hate to tell you this but I work for a major British Daily and we already have print on demand kiosks that we are experimenting with in big hotels. The big problem is that each one takes about three or four minutes to print which means that if there are 20 guests requiring our newspaper then it takes forever to print them all out.
batty123, Oct 02 2001

       The wait is accounted for-- the kiosk prints reserves during idle time.
jester, Oct 03 2001

       Imagine a collaboration between USA Today and major hotels, so that no matter where you stay the paper that's under your door has your personal customized news. Local news from back home, business news focusing on the sector you're in, weather for the route you'll be travelling. Plus all the e-mail you got in the last day, for reference, including that document you sent to yourself for the purpose.
egnor, Oct 03 2001

       [brettjs], //the kiosk prints reserves during idle time.// how do you estimate exactly how many copies people will need? If you can do this with individual articles, why not with whole newspapers? We've come so far with computers in such a short period of time, I'd rather invest that little extra time in better, cheaper, more accessible wireless networks so we can read the morning news from our notebooks or PDAs.
sdm, Oct 03 2001

       Assuming one has a PDA. Or a notebook. OR one doesn't have a wire fetish.   

       I'm a college student and I can barely afford Target(tm) brand notebooks, much less their higher-tech, siliconized brethren.   

       Okay, but I've got a Visor. So sue me-- I'm a geek. I eat chicken heads for breakfast, etc.
jester, Oct 03 2001

       Great idea! - but not using today's technology.   

       With the Internet, newspapers must be losing sales - its quicker to log in and read the headlines than buy a paper. When something big happens (eg 9/11) then everyone wants a copy of the paper.   

       What needs to happen is that you have a kiosk that prints fast and cheap, on demand. On a panel, you order which sections you require and you have your 'paper' in hand 20 seconds later. You would always get the main section, including 'global ads', and the specialized sections would include more targeted advertizing.   

       Newstand Menu: Briskville Times dd/mm/yyyy Main news section $0.30 [ ] Local add $0.10 [ ] Sport add $0.15 [ ] Classifieds add $0.10 Your total >> $0.30 << Please insert payment and press [Ok]   

       Maybe the (unwieldy) format of today's newspapers must change to allow such an idea to work. The big challenge is fast and cheap printing.   

       Gets my vote!
jetckalz, Oct 03 2001

       ÊÊÊÊÊÊ Everyone doesn't carry their PC around in their left thumb like you do, PeterSealy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ brettjs, Oct 04 2001ÊÊ   

       hmmm, this is interesting. A thumb nail PC
bobzaguy, Oct 07 2001

       << A thumb nail PC >>   

       Can it do handwriting recognition? I'd buy that.
pottedstu, Oct 07 2001

       The problem with internet versions of newspapers is that they tend to be so heavily stripped down you only get 1/8 of what you get in a real paper.
CasaLoco, Oct 08 2001

       There actually IS something very like this already. It can be seen in the lobby of a cinema in Sydney, Australia.   

       It will print out a copy, (laserprinted on A3) of a number of world newspapers. I have never seen anyone actually use it, and the cost is quite high, a few dollars.
AmbroseChappell, Jul 14 2005


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