Saturday, June 20, 2009

Print on Demand Just got Simpler

Just when you thought the publishing business might fold altogether, a new machine emerges that may revolutionize how we buy books.

The Espresso Book Machine 2.0 will print, bind and trim a perfect library-quality paperback book with the touch of a few buttons  all in about 5 minutes. It even remits royalties to the publisher.

Using pdf files via the web or your own computer, it will print black and white or color, with a 4-color cover.

How cool is that?

Just think, no more overruns of hundreds of thousands of books that use up natural resources and sit in warehouses as waste. This will allow you to purchase a book while you wait, having a cup of joe, perhaps (hence the name Espresso). Prices of books in the future will be less due to no shipping, warehousing, or destruction of unsold books.

More out-of-print and obscure titles would be made available using a global list instead of just by country by country.

Royalties will be accurate because the publisher won't have to wait for returns to cut the final check to the author. Only books sold to the public will be created, therefore, cutting out much of the distribution, hence allowing more money for the author. ;o)

It opens up a world of possibilities, and I like possibilities.

I had heard about this machine a couple of years ago in the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont. It was a much larger, slower machine, but the premiss was there and being modified for ease of use by nearly anyone.

Right now, the Espresso Book Machine 2.0 is being used in Blackwell's Book Store in London, England, and soon will be utilized in their 60 UK branches. It's only a matter of time before it's put to use in the US. The price tag is a bit steep—about $175,000.—but the ramifications are amazing.

I love technology!

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