That’s the proposition by Tony Hirst in his blog, OUseful.Info. Tony examines the digital assets of Amazon and their growing electronic distribution mechanisms. And then the eureka moment:
So here’s where it struck me: Amazon is increasingly capable of turning digital bits into physical stuff. This is good for warehousing, of course – the inventory in a PoD driven distribution service is blanks, not one or two copies of as many long tail books you can fit in the warehouse – though of course the actual process of PoD is possibly a huge bottleneck. And it takes Amazon from retailer, to manufacturer?
The prediction si that Amazon would buy market-of-one manufacturers such as: Moo.com (business cards), Spreadshirt (t-shirts) and “Ponoko or Shapeways”.
If they don’t purchase a 3D print service, perhaps they’ll make their own?
Or maybe they’ll move into franchising POD and fab machines, and scale-up manufacturing that way? One thing I keep noticing at conferences and events is that coffee increasingly comes in Starbucks labeled dispensers (Starbucks – For Business). So maybe we’ll start seeing Amazon branded POD and fab machines in our libraries, bookstores and catalogue shops?
We think this is an interesting proposition. Will it come true? Perhaps, but only if Amazon wants to break away from their current direction of electronic distribution of digital products. On the other hand, if Amazon did do this, it would certainly make 3D printing a household term.