Espresso Book Machine Prints Books on Demand in London for First Time

The revolution is upon us. Do you sense it?

Probably not. Most revolutions aren’t readily apparent to those going through them, yet book publishing further changed today when the Espresso Book Machine launched in London.

The clunky book printing and binding machine isn’t much to look at. It might be described as Victor Frankenstein’s photocopier. But what it does is a thing of sheer beauty.

For a five minute wait and a fair price, the Espresso offers on demand access to almost half a million books. Most of the available works are in the public domain, but plans are to bring copyrighted works to the Espresso in the near future. Response in the publishing industry has been favorable.

Publisher Jason Epstein’s ATM for books is already running in the United States, Canada and Australia, but today is it’s first appearance in the UK. The Espresso resides at the Charing Cross Road location of Blackwell bookstores.

Phill Jamieson, Blackwell’s head of marketing, says, “It has the potential to be the biggest change since Gutenberg and we certainly hope it will be. And it’s not just for us – it gives the ability to small independent bookshops to compete with anybody.”

The Espresso Book Machine will become a valuable addition to small and used book stores (perhaps even libraries). It grants independent booksellers the power to compete with even the largest chain stores.

Eventually, the large box bookstores may succumb to the superior business practices and customer service of the smaller stores and be forced to either close their doors or radically alter their business model. Whatever happens, however, things will never be the same.

Related: Wil Wheaton touches on the importance of the Espresso Book Machine to independent authors like himself.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

3 Responses to Espresso Book Machine Prints Books on Demand in London for First Time

  1. DPeach says:

    Have you seen anything that gives a cost per book with this machine? It seems great for printing small numbers, but terribly slow for anyone trying to crank out books like Lulu.com. I wonder what Lulu uses.

  2. adamtree says:

    The cost of a book from the Espresso is supposed to be around what a book off the store shelf costs. Demand will play a part in pricing as the public reacts to the machine.

    It seems ideal for a single copy of a book, or two or three, but not the best choice for self publishing. Considering that people hate to wait, though, I imagine future version of the machine will perform faster.

  3. Pingback: POD Co. Lightning Source, Major Publishers Team to Provide Content for Espresso Book Machine « The Sky’s the Limit

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