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A Year of Books
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Foyles bookshop appoints first fully automated employee - The Bookseller2000

1st April 2016

Foyles bookshop appoints first fully automated employee - The Bookseller2000

 

 

Foyles has today announced the appointment of its first fully automated employee. A holographic bookseller that can respond to customer enquiries, the Bookseller2000 is the first artificially intelligent staff member to be deployed on the floor of a UK bookshop. With the accumulated literary knowledge base of over 100 human booksellers and all the efficiency and adaptability of 21st century algorithms, the Bookseller2000 represents a significant moment in the history of bookselling.

 

Since the move of its flagship store to 107 Charing Cross Road in 2014, the independent bookseller has worked to integrate the classic physical environment of bookshops with the utility and convenience of new digital technologies. The introduction of the Bookseller2000 is the latest move in the direction of omni-channel retailing as the bookseller looks to further refine and improve the service it provides to customers. Launched today at Foyles’ Charing Cross Road store, the scheme will be rolled out across the company’s other branches later in the year.

 

The technology’s applications extend beyond the ability of automated booksellers to find, recommend and sell books to customers. Authors will be able to appear remotely at in-store readings and experiential children’s events could be further enhanced by the use of digital storytellers to bring much-loved characters to life.

 

Simon Heafield, Head of Marketing and Brand Development at Foyles, comments:

"We see the holographic bookseller as the perfect synergy between the work we’ve being doing to bring digital technology into the physical environment and the investment we’ve made in developing our customer service. Booksellers are often thought of as a traditional bunch, but I think we can’t afford to be daunted by new technology. I’m so proud to see the Bookseller2000 floating serenely around (and sometimes through) the shelves of Foyles, and with the helpfulness and personability settings turned up to eleven I know that customers are going to fall in love with it."

 

Comedian and author Sara Pascoe said:

"Just like in supermarkets, now we'll be able to shop for books without having to put up with human interaction. People read because they are shy and bad at small talk, now they will only have to converse with robots and the worse bit of book shopping has been removed." 

 

The Bookseller2000’s recommended reads are:

 

#1 Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

#2 I Robot by Isaac Asimov

#3 The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

#4 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick

#5 Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow

 

 

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