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Machine that prints your book on the spot

(17 posts)

  1. Anonymous

    Especially for those of us who *suffer* due to high postage costs and long transit times, would satisfy those who don't want to use an eReader/Kindle etc but *must* have a physical copy:

    Here's what is hopefully a forerunner of greater things to come. It's a facility that allows you to print-to-order. Choose your publication, pay for it and...!

    It's not a new idea but here is the link:

    GVG, how about it?


    Posted 10 years ago #
  2. MattHughes

    The Mark II of the Espresso has been getting a trial run in university bookstores around North America. The cost of production is something like a penny a page. Conceivably, if it spreads commercially, you could order a book on-line and pick it up at your local bookstore, or have it delivered by a kid on a bike, on the same day.

    More info here:

    Posted 10 years ago #
  3. myshortname

    very interesting post (imho) - i think the problems experienced by bookshops could be solved using this kind of technology.

    bookshop would become a display centre with coffee and armchairs; readers groups and so on. your book would be printed for you (mass production in units of one) .. on the paper you want with the font you want and so on.

    also a freshly printed locally available f&sf magazine could help solve distribution and subscription problems.


    Posted 10 years ago #
  4. Gordon Van Gelder

    There was some discussion of this Espresso Book Machine during one of the panels at Norwescon on Saturday. Bookseller Vladimir Verrano knew more about it than anyone and said the costs right now are prohibitive, but it might not be too long before chains and larger independent stores can afford them. But rights, permissions, and licenses are a bit of a minefield and it's going to be a while before we'll have a mechanism set up that will allow for the creators of a work to get paid when their work is printed and sold in this way.

    ---Gordon V.G.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  5. Anonymous

    If you could find a happy solution for who is entitled to what money from the sale of these books, this would be a great method to get out of print books. I mean, where else can I get a copy of the Codex Seraphinianus or The Fifty Year Sword for less than a hundred+ bucks, and without having to wait for some dude from Quebec to ship 'em to you?

    Heck, make it cheap enough to put one in every basement across the world, and plug it into teh internetz, and you now have a hella fax machine. Send some money via PayPal to your favorite author or publisher, and they fax you the book (with some discount for material costs on your end, of course). Of course, this would hurt things, like the post office, or brick and mortar stores, or even eStores, like Amazon, if you could get the best deal directly from the publisher.

    Forget I just said anything, I'm on my way to the USPTO...

    Posted 10 years ago #
  6. David the Evil Overlord

    I've seen the machine, and it does have limitations.

    The printed pages look more like photocopies (since they seem to be printed from scanned pages of the original book, that's not too surprising, I guess).

    The other limitation is the one GVG mentioned above. Since there is no mechanism for writers to be paid for printing their works like this, the range of titles seems to mostly be obscure, out-of-copyright texts written a century or more ago.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  7. myshortname

    Hi davidmarshall

    in 1995 i went around my company explaining what i thought the impact of the internet would be on jobs and on print magazines and books.

    i had windows 95 which didnt work and internet which didnt work. the presentation si enjoyed most were the ones with nothingw orking at all. whats the best way to distract soime while getting your message across? (any way that works - once i got drunk and fell off a chair.. a maneuver known as 'Gordon's favorite' i believe :)

    so whats the point? just that i think the future for bookshops is to display real books and magazines (nothing on a pc will ever compare with print) and to provide a local printing and distribution service. the fact that current machines don't work doesn't matter. one day the kindle will work but its irrelevant for anyone who wants to read real magazines - and the current distribution system doesn't work and hasn't for 40 years to my certain knowledge.

    genrally the decline of magazines and to some extent books is i think the apathetic failure to embrace change - the idea that 'we can't do it' rather than 'how can we do it.' how un-american!

    by the way my bookshop of the futre will have a 3d replicator but thats another story


    Posted 10 years ago #
  8. myshortname

    ps aethercowboy - i agree with you but do you really want a machine in your house that can print reall books and magazines? ordinary printers are already a hassle.

    pps whats a USPTO - sorry to be ignorant (again) .....

    Posted 10 years ago #
  9. myshortname

    ppps thx for the info gordon

    Posted 10 years ago #
  10. iamnothing

    @myshortname: I suppose the 3D replicator will be used to replicate the customers that buy a lot of books.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  11. myshortname

    iamnothing - what a name ! u must be somebody surely? anyway i dont care about replicating customers just getting my freshly printyed magazines off the press


    Posted 10 years ago #
  12. Anonymous

    USPTO: United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was a joke, as after I mentioned it in public, I had thus generated prior art, and would have a more difficult time patenting it...

    Was that a joke too? I'm so meta, sometimes even I don't get my jokes.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  13. Anonymous


    It's been shown that lining your walls with paper books helps insulate your home during the extreme temperatures. That and an acute case of bibliomania, or bibliophily (I'm not sure which one I have), would have me saying: YES.

    But only after the boost the image quality.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  14. David the Evil Overlord

    Hi myshortname.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  15. BrianJackson

    I have a machine called a 'Sharpie' that prints spots on your books.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  16. MattHughes

    Looks as if the future is about to steam in and tie up at the dock. Lorina Stephens, one of my colleagues in SF Canada (SFWA for Canadians), has posted this news on her blog:

    Top publishers exploring the latest print on demand book model with Lightning Source Espresso Book Machine pilot program

    LAVERGNE, TENNESSEE – Lightning Source, an Ingram Content company focused on enhancing book sales for publishers with innovative, low cost and minimum risk print on demand solutions, today announced the launch of an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) title pilot with On Demand Books.

    Participating publishers in the pilot include John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Clements Publishing, Cosimo, E-Reads, Bibliolife, Information Age Publishing, Macmillan, University of California Press and W.W. Norton. The pilot, being offered initially to a small group of publishers that currently work with Lightning Source, will enable these publishers to enhance the availability of their titles at point-of-sale EBM locations. Approximately 85,000 titles from these publishers will be available for purchase at EBM locations in the USA in May 2009.

    Upon the completion of a successful pilot, publishers that print and distribute books with Lightning Source will have the option to participate in the EBM channel. Complete channel automation is expected in the first half of this year, and rollout of the program to publishers globally is expected to follow shortly thereafter.

    The EBM, which was named a Time Magazine “Invention of the Year,” is essentially an ATM for books. Placed primarily in bookstores and libraries, the machine automatically prints, binds and trims perfect bound paperback books on-demand, at point of sale.

    "We see the Espresso Book Machine as an innovative and exciting way for publishers to get their books out into the market,” said David Taylor, President of Lightning Source. “There is clearly a place for the in-store print on demand model in the emerging landscape of globally distributed print.”

    Mr. Taylor continued, “Working with On Demand Books allows the many thousands of publishers with whom we already work the chance to get their books into this new distribution channel with minimal effort. In the times in which we are living, publishers need to be looking at every option to ensure that their books can be immediately available to people who want to buy them."

    "The EBM & Lightning Source pilot program is an exciting next step in the evolution
    of digital printing and direct fulfillment of Wiley's must-have content to our customers, wherever and whenever they need it,” said Lynn Terhune, US POD and USR.

    Administrator, John Wiley & Sons. “Our rich content is being discovered by our customers in channels that were unimaginable five years ago."

    David Young, CEO of Hachette Book Group, said: "I'm pleased to have Hachette Book Group involved in this pilot program because anything that enables us to keep the widest array of books in print and available for the consumer, is good news both for us and our authors."
    "Providing McGraw-Hill content to our customers around the world is core to our strategy,” said Philip Ruppel, President for McGraw-Hill Professional. “Espresso's ability to make thousands of our key titles available on-demand gives us another vehicle to achieve that goal."

    “The future has finally arrived in the form of the Espresso Book Machine pilot program,” said Joe D’Onofrio, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Operations for Simon & Schuster. “This is an important first step for all publishers in providing readers with universal and instant access to the widest possible catalog of titles in high quality editions. We’re thrilled to be able to do this through our partnership with Lightning Source. ”

    “Norton is delighted to have joined the Espresso/Lightning source pilot program and especially to include in it, Jason Epstein's insightful volume Book Business, which makes the case for this initiative that will help achieve the widest possible distribution for our books,” said W. Drake McFeely, Chairman and President, W.W. Norton and Company.

    "Since the introduction of print on demand over a decade ago, I've dreamed of a day when the technology would be refined and reduced to in-store scale,” said Richard Curtis, President, E-Reads. “At last it's here and I'm overjoyed at this significant moment in the evolution of the book industry. Now you can visit a bookstore, order a book online, and pick your copy up after a leisurely cup of coffee. Bravissimo Espresso!"

    "The University of California Press has had a long and active partnership with Lightning Source, and we're very pleased to have the opportunity to extend that partnership to the Espresso Book Machine pilot program,” said Erich van Rijn, Director of Publishing Operations, University of California Press. “This program will further our efforts to make the greatest amount of our published material available to the widest possible readership. The point-of-sale printing model is truly an exciting development for the book business."

    "On Demand Books is delighted that the Espresso Book Machine is playing such a central role in a program that is blazing a trail to the future of book publishing,” said Dane Neller, CEO of OnDemand Books. Mr. Neller continued, “With the book business facing dramatic changes and challenges, we believe the timing of the EBM couldn’t be better. Publishers, retailers and libraries alike see the appeal of the machine that collapses the supply chain, boosts backlist sales, matches supply with demand, eliminates returns and powers new, high growth sales channels for publishers.”

    On Demand Books will be demonstrating the new Espresso Book Machine 2.0 model at the upcoming London Book Fair. More information on the Espresso Book Machine and Lightning Source can be found on the Lightning Source and On Demand Books websites.

    About On Demand Books, LLC On Demand Books, proprietor of the Espresso Book Machine® (“EBM”), was founded in 2003 by its Chairman, Jason Epstein, a renowned innovator throughout his nearly 60-year publishing career, and business executive Dane Neller, who left his role as President and CEO of Dean & Deluca in 2005 to focus his full energies as CEO of On Demand Books. The EBM was featured in a Time Magazine cover story as a “Best Invention of 2007” and has also attracted the attention of The New York Times, Newsweek, Fortune, CNN, and NPR. For more information please visit

    About Lightning Source
    Lightning Source is the leading print-on-demand company in the world, offering the unique combination of quality one-off book manufacturing and access to the most comprehensive distribution solutions in the publishing industry. Lightning Source is an Ingram content company. The Ingram content companies provide a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry, and immediate access to the largest selection of books and book-related products in the industry. The content companies are Ingram Digital, Lightning Source Inc., Ingram Book Company, Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Coutts Information Services, Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., and Tennessee Book Company LLC. For more information, visit the website at

    The Lightning Source name, corresponding logos, taglines and other service marks identifying Lightning Source and its services are the proprietary marks of Lightning Source Inc. and must be represented accordingly. Other products and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  17. myshortname

    its interesting (imho) to speculate what would have been the future for the record industry if instead of going down the drm route they had transformed high street cd shops into local music production centres.

    the result could have been very interesting and creative stores; boost to musicians and writers and performers AND lower prices for musi lovers.


    Posted 10 years ago #

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