In the days of old (i.e, when I was a kid), if you wanted to read a book, you either went to the library or the bookstore and browsed the titles (in paper, of course) they had on hand.

Then, the Internet came along, and all of a sudden, it seemed, we could carry our own personal libraries with us in the form of e-books on e-readers. We could even check out e-books from the library.

But what about our local bookstores? I’ve always loved going to my local bookstore, with its warm and inviting atmosphere, comfy chairs and rows and rows of books to browse. But although I still love the feel of a paper book, I also love the convenience of e-books. And I appreciate the selection and convenience afforded by large online retailers.

Well, the technology that turned the tide away from brick-and-mortars and toward online retailers is now, as tides do, shifting again.

Soon, e-books, e-readers and print-on-demand titles could be available at your local bookstore. And all at the touch of a button.

Think of it like book vending machines, in a way. Buy the e-reader from Ye Local Bookstore and download e-books before you leave the store. Or, want that latest Kristine Kathryn Rusch title from your local bookstore in Duluth, Minnesota. Just find the selection on your bookstore’s machine, and have it printed for you on demand in 15 minutes or less.

I’ll keep you posted on developments in these markets as we continue to research them.

Excited yet? Well, we sure are. As a publisher, I find the distribution possibilities growing exponentially. And as a reader, I don’t have to choose anymore based on availability. My choice of shopping local or buying online is just that: my choice.

What a wonderful world.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.