The Bookmaker

Friday, November 23, 2007


A management consultant dreamed of instantly printing books. An editor dreamed of selling classics that are hard to find in megastores. Together they created the Espresso Book Machine. Their only obstacle: glue. Daniel J. Kramer reports on the ATM machine for literature.

Comments [5]

David Schwalje from Atlanta

Cost of the machine, cost of the materials used, cost of the maintenance and upkeep, all of these costs are drastically reduced when compared to the half million to over million dollar systems.

This system at around $150,000 is still a bit pricey for independent bookstores and library branches however the cost is low enough to get some creative people thinking entrepreneurially.

Dec. 06 2007 01:52 PM
Justin Bailey

I looked at both those sites, and unless I'm mistaken, is more for self-publishing and Lightning Source provides print-on-demand services for booksellers, publishers and libraries but not consumers.

I think the point is that this machine, if it goes into large-scale production, will provide a print-on-demand service at the retail location.

Obviously a bookstore can order a book, but that takes at least a day or two to ship. Same thing for ordering via the internet. A printer right in the store would take 15 minutes.

It is curious that they didn't mention how titles are currently available from the EBM or whatever. Does anyone know?

Dec. 04 2007 12:56 AM
Jim Hamilton from Weymouth, MA

It surprises me that the media picks up on these stories of book machines, when so few actually exist. The issue isn't the machine, it's the library of ready-to-print files. To focus on the glue as the issue is to miss the point. I agree that the Ross patent is important, but there are many more interesting on-demand book stories than that. You said they have six machines in the market. Six! They and others have been trying to sell this for years. Meanwhile, companies like Lighting Source and are actually producing significant volumes of short-run and on-demand books using equipment from vendors like Delphax, HP, IBM, Oce, and Xerox.

Nov. 26 2007 09:49 AM
Charles Depondt from Chicago

Very interesting but incomplete piece. Several publishers and distributors have a"print on demand" ability. As a bookseller, I can order a book they don't actually have. But they have the rights to it so they print and ship it, usually in 48 hours. I just wonder if this is really different than the Espresso Book Machine. By the way, what a stupid name!

Nov. 25 2007 11:32 PM
Sonia Meltzer from Dallas, Texas

This was a fascinating piece - I can now discuss the EBM comfortably. It was an excellent presentation, interspersing the presenter with the interviewees. First rate - more, please!

Nov. 25 2007 05:39 PM

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