On Demand Books Announces the New Espresso Book Machine 2.0November 21, 2008 By Peter Beisser
A commercially viable, point-of-sale, print-on-demand (POD) option—a device capable of creating a single perfect-bound paperback book at a Time—has remained, up until this point, beyond the book industry's reach. With the announcement last week of New York-based On Demand Books' newest version of its Espresso Book Machine, set to roll out early next year for initial testing, the current age of printing and distribution as we have come to know it may be on the verge of a major transformation.
On Demand Books CEO Dane Neller calls the newest version of the Espresso Book Machine a "quantum leap" over the previous two incarnations of the much-talked-about device. The first Espresso machines were installed in 2006 at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington D.C., and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.
From its smaller size and less-obtrusive shape to a lower price tag and quicker speed, the new model is a four-foot-tall, copy-machine-size unit that has been referred to as “an ATM for books.”
With the Espresso Book Machine 2.0, a user selects a book from a network of available titles, most of which are out of print. A short time later, the device, which currently runs at 112 pages per minute, prints, binds, trims and spits out a factory-quality book for sale.
On Demand's ultimate goal is to install the machines anywhere books are currently found, sold or needed. The homepage of the company's Web site proclaims, "What Gutenberg’s press did for Europe in the 15th century, digitization and the Espresso Book Machine will do for the world tomorrow."
Publishers, have no fear though, says Neller. This new technology, which Time called the invention of the year in 2007, is here to help, not hurt, your bottom line.
"I think from a publisher's standpoint, we believe the technology will make authors' works more readily available," he says. "It will in no way do away with conventional methods of book publishing."
According to Neller, the company expects this newly updated Espresso Book Machine to be embraced by an industry facing the same economic downturn as other industries.
"The machine cuts out traditional supply chain costs," Neller says. "Publishers will be able to better manage and help monetize their backlists. It really can do many things. It's designed to print one book at a time. There are no returns. A PDF [of a book] is sold and printed."