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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

DOUBLE FEATURE: The Expresso Book Machine

Yesterday, I reminded you to vote on the poll located at the bottom of this blog page! (There is only ONE day left!) I also noted the evolution of books from cave drawings to ebooks and the issue of supply and demand in bookstores. Today, we will discuss a machine that may be able to turn the bookstore industry in a brighter, more effective, direction. It's called The Expresso Book Machine.

From Wikipedia:

The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is a print on demand (POD) machine that prints, collates, covers, and binds a single book in a few minutes. A single machine can cost from $97,000 plus printer

The EBM is small enough to fit in a retail book store or small library room, and as such it is targeted at retail and library markets. The EBM can potentially allow readers to obtain any book title, even books that are out of print. The machine takes as input a PDF file and prints, binds, and trims the reader’s selection as a paperback book.

The direct-to-consumer model of the EBM eliminates shipping, warehousing, returns and pulping of unsold books, and allows simultaneous global availability of millions of new and backlist titles. These characteristics may in the future lower prices to consumers and libraries, and allow greater royalties and profits to authors and publishers.

Original material can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_Book_Machine

Want to know how it works? Here's a video!

Pretty neat huh? I heard they are a little noisy and they're big and bulky, but imagine the possibilities. Stores could become more like catalogs, a library of the books their Expresso book machine could produce for you. You merely walk in, choose a book you're interested in, read a few pages from the sample, and then go to the machine and have it print it off for you at a lesser cost to you and eventually to the store itself! No more walking into the store only to find that they don't have the book you want because it is out of stock or out of print! No more unsold books being sent back to the warehouse to be pulped and destroyed! No more ridiculous prices in stores just so they can lose money on their enormous stock! It's a win-win for everyone.


What do you think?
Would you use the Expresso Book Machine if your bookstore had one?


  1. This is a fantastic invention. The only downside is the price of the machine. A lot of retailers (and especially libraries) wouldn't be able to shell out $97,000 at one time on one thing.

  2. While this is a really cool invention, there are a host of potential problems and difficulties that could present. The cost of maintaining and operating a machine of such complexity would be quite large. It's probably not something that your standard xerox tech could handle.

    It would definitely be nice for some of the bigger book stores in large cities to print out-of-print books. But the price would make it prohibitive for most smaller stores to own and operate one of these.

    I would definitely use it if it was available, but I couldn't tell you how much. Personally I would just as soon own an electronic copy of an out-of-print book as a paperback copy. It would be nice to be able to share you favorite out-of-print books with people who don't like reading ebooks and you don't feel like loaning out your own, usually old and decaying copy of the book. If it could print out large format comic books like Fantagraphics does, I would use ad nauseam to print out issues of my favorite series, Hal Foster's "Prince Valiant" which is mostly out of print.

  3. I know you'll probably hate me for saying this but I really do see publishing going electronic - it saves the trees, it saved time, money, library space in libraries and homes, it stop students walking around with bent back with all those books to carry - that is a win win. Sorry - although it does sound brilliant in the article, compare it to electronic books and there is no competition really? But then I'm a Kindle junkie - so I'm biased. ;)XX

  4. Thanks for checking in at A Creative Spirit. I would SOOOOOO love to have this available at local store... What a cool way to publish your own creations....

  5. I am a new follower. I hope you will follow me back.

  6. i am now following you from the hop, please follow me back at http://mizzreviewlady-mommyreviews.blogspot.com/

  7. I am now following you from the making friends Monday Blog hop.. I'd love if you could come follow me back http://beachbabys.blogspot.com/

  8. You have a great blog and I plan on coming back often!!

  9. Interesting machine - cool =)

    Hi I'm your newest follower.

    Would love a follow back at; http://cupofromance.blogspot.com

    Sandie lee

  10. I agree with Patrick. How long before it breaks down? I imagine it would be used quite frequently. It could break down within months or a year. I don't know how extensively it's been tested, unless they've performed extended field tests.

  11. There's a 2.0!



    Matt...Definately not in the price range of many independent bookstores, but I see the Borders and the Barnes and Nobles making good use of them.

    Patrick...I agree. There are a lot of running parts, but the fact that it's classic machinary give me hope. My dad is a machine builder so he understands stuff like this so much better than something like a computer. Moving parts can be easily fixed, digital information, not so much.

    Yes, there's plent of out of print stuff that i would love to get my hands on!!!

    Shah...No hate here, lol. You make a very good point. I don't think it could actively compete with a digital copy. However, it may keep bookstores alive. If everything goes digital, there won't be bookstores. And right now, the problem with bookstores is that supply and demand is killing them, not ebooks. This machine solves the supply and demand issue.

    Kim...No problem and I agree. I would sooo use this machine like crazy! In fact, I want to open my own bookstore with one or two or three of these machines!!! It's a dream!

    OH! I FORGOT TO MENTION that this machine can SELF PUBLISH YOUR OWN BOOK!!!! Isn't that AWESOME!?

    Nancy...Welcome. Please, join the conversations when you get a chance. I'll be by to check out your blog later today!

    Mizzreviewlady...I welcome you as well. Thanks for following. Please, loin the conversations when you get a chance. Looking forward to checking out your blog later today.

    beachbaby...WOW! Three new followers in a row! Welcome! and please join in the conversation when you get a chance. I promise all new followers that we do not bite! I'll be by to check out your blog later today.

    Ross...Thank you so much and i look forward to seeing you around and reading what you ahve to say!

    Sandie...Yes, I think it is very cool. Also, welcome! Thank you for following. I will be by to check out your blog later today.

    Sweet T...I love all these new followers! Welcome and please join in the conversation when you get a chance. We love to hear from everyone! Also, I will be by to check out a few of your links a little later today!

    Matt (Again)...I don't know, but I image that the printer part is pretty dang figured out and won't give anyone many problems, plus, like I mentioned before, the other part looks like it is pure machinery and moving parts over digital parts is a good thing.

    The machines are prevalent in Europe and have been used for a while now so they probably have more information. As far as I know there are only 5 or 6 in use in America and only 2 or so are available to the public so they're just starting out. Plus, they're cheaper now! they used to be around 300,000 so that 97,000 is pretty good news.

    2.0 AWESOME! I hope this one is a little smaller and a bit quieter.

  13. I just watch the 2.0 version and I am IN LOVE!! I want one!

  14. That is really neat i would love that at a library!

  15. Eschelle...That good to know. I like that people are showing interest. It gives me hope that I might actually get to use of these machines one day!

  16. If you could use it to publish your own stuff, then could this machine become a threat to publishers?

  17. Matt...I highly doubt it. Publishers can print 1,000s of copies at the same time. This one can only do one at a time. Plus, I think you have to upload the manuscript yourself for yourself. It's not like you can add it to the main catalogue for others to get as well. You'd have to go through a publisher to do that.

  18. But if you were to go through the work of printing some out and then passing them around, would you still be able to have a publisher print them? I suppose it's a similar situation to having stories printed in a journal. Publishers might not be keen on publishing something that I've printed in the 1029.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to bash this great invention, I just like to explore all of the avenues.

  19. Matt...You wouldn't have entered any contract by printing off a few copies by yourself so I don't see why a publisher would mind. It's still a cold manuscript because no agent or publishing company has had their hands on it, and technically, still could be considered unpublished without an ISBN number (still not sure if you would need one to publish with this machine, but I kind of doubt it).

  20. That is interesting, very interesting. I wonder if printing copies of pre-published books would include ISBNs or even publishing history?

  21. Matt...Yes, I believe they do. It's supposed to be just like a library copy book.

  22. I remember asking my mother to use her job's copying machine to make copies of something I'd drawn or written. Ah, youth.

  23. Matt...Me too. I even had the copiers print up the first 80 pages of one of my books last year. It was very exciting. Of course, that novel has changed drastically since then.

  24. My mother was reluctant because of office regulations. Was yours?

  25. Matt...No, but my mom owns her own business so she's the boss!


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