Espresso book machine.
May 05, 2008 02:28 PM
by Noel vasco
Mr. Jason Epstein, prestigious editor of United States was recently in Bogotá Colombia.
Sounds interestings his new machine to print books on five minutes.
The Espresso Machine Debuts
Newest entrant in digital publishing
by Judith Rosen -- Publishers Weekly, 6/26/2006
If former Random House editorial director Jason Epstein has his way, as early as next year people will be able to order books online in just about any language. And faster than you can say "Grande Caramel Macchiato," they will be able to be pick up the finished product at a nearby bookstore, coffee shop or copy shop.
At least that's the concept behind Epstein's latest venture, On Demand Books, which he founded last year with former Dean & DeLuca president and CEO Dane Neller and technology expert Thor Sigvaldason. The company recently received an infusion of cash, nearly $766,000, from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and has begun beta testing its Espresso Book Machine, which can print black-and-white text for a 300-page paperback with a four-color cover, and bind it together in three minutes.
"Our goal is to preserve the economic and ergonomic simplicity of the physical book," said Epstein, who laments the disappearance of backlist and ready access to books in other languages. By printing from digital files, ODB hopes to make warehousing—and much of today's distribution model—obsolete. "In theory," said Epstein, "every book printed will be digitized, which means the market will be radically decentralized. A bookstore with this technology, without any expense to themselves [other than the machine] can increase their footprint." Of course, that also means that Kinko's or Wal-Mart can transform themselves into mini-bookstores, especially given the machine's affordability. Neller anticipates that it will retail for less than $100,000.
The Espresso Book Machine was invented by Jeff Marsh and is intended to print books from digital files with only minimal human intervention. Marsh created the precursor to Espresso, the Perfect Book Machine, five years ago. Since then he has printed several thousand titles, mostly self-publishing projects, and has continued to refine the machine, which prints a date and time stamp inside each finished book and tracks each book printed to facilitate publisher payments. While the Espresso Book Machine can print original manuscripts, as does the InstaBook machine (PW, June 5), the ODB team has a more ambitious goal: they want stores and libraries to use the machine to print copies of slow-selling titles or books that have temporarily gone out of stock, as well as rare books. The company will likely begin by offering a small catalogue of titles available through ODB, and is in negotiations with publishers to host their digital files. Books from the Internet
Archive, which has scanned some 30,000 titles, are also likely to be made available through ODB, said IA head Brewster Kahle. And Epstein expects that as more publishers digitize their titles, the availability of books that can be printed by Espresso will significantly increase.
In April, the first Espresso Book Machine was installed at the InfoShop at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., which has loaded 200 of its titles online for the three-month test period. Two additional Espressos will be installed at the New York Public Library and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Egypt, in September. ODB is also currently in talks with a bookstore chain outside the U.S. about installing the machine. In addition, the company is looking beyond the traditional book market and hopes to service the printing needs of large corporations.
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