Philly Book Shop Uses Split-Flap Display To Promote Instant-Print Machine

February 21, 2019 by Dave Haynes

This is a nice use of those old-school split-flap disc displays to promote a rapid book-printing service at an indie book shop in Philadelphia.

At Shakespeare & Co.’s new location in Philadelphia’s Center City, the on-demand Espresso Book Machine printer – which can print any paperback on-demand in the time it takes to make a fancy coffee – is promoted by the sight and sound of the clacking display, busily noting what book is being printed.

“Shakespeare & Co. wanted to create an experience that activates all of their customers’ senses, while reviving the feel of a time before smartphones and push notifications,” says Mark Kuhn, co-founder and CEO of Oat Foundry, which makes and markets the split-flap display. “Split flap displays were once a leading information delivery technology, adorning the walls of train stations and alerting passengers to changes with their recognizable ‘clacking’ sounds. Today, our Split Flap Display has allowed Shakespeare & Co. to take their specialized book-printing service even further by audibly and visually sharing the current title being printed with all customers. It truly is a book-buying experience people won’t find anywhere else!”

After discussing options with the engineers at Oat Foundry, which is also based in Philadelphia, Shakespeare & Co. decided to purchase a 2 row by 24 column Split Flap Display mounted on a shop wall near the Espresso Book Machine experience.

Says a press release:

“Providing a unique way to buy a book, and to buy books that may not be found anywhere anymore, is a fantastic incentive for people to visit a physical bookstore,” Kuhn adds. “For the modern generation, which is inundated with digital notifications devoid of tactile, physical impact, the Split Flap Display offers an even more nostalgic and memorable experience. It raises excitement with an almost-forgotten technology that most guests have likely never seen in the real world.”

In addition to showcasing the title of the book currently printing, Shakespeare & Co. uses the Split Flap Display to track and share the total number of books printed globally by the brand. Both functions are fully automated, requiring no input from employees or customers.

“From a functional standpoint, the Split Flap offers a dynamic way to display the cumulative number of books printed on our machines worldwide, and individual titles printed in real time,” says Shakespeare & Co. CEO Dane Neller. “From an experiential standpoint, the Split Flap is both entertaining and informative, engaging our patrons with the book printing technology.”

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