The trend right now for books may be taking us towards e-readers and paper-like versions of our old best friends. But there's a Kindle rival that aims to keep books around after most people switch to digital. The Espresso Book machine prints, slices, binds and spits out a copy of a book on demand. Rather than printing X copies of a book and sending them off to stores to sit on shelves, or gather dust in warehouses until a buyer places an order, books are going on-demand. The Espresso Book Machine was just launched by Blackwell yesterday and will be a boon to people looking for out-of-print editions, or novelists looking to print a copy or two of their own work.
Most likely, hard copy books will never be completely replaced by e-books. There's a magic to them that people will always enjoy. So to be able to have a machine spit just one out when you need it is pretty handy, and reduces the footprint of printing too many copies of a title (though it's still a bigger footprint than tracking down a used copy somewhere...).
According to the Daily Mail:
Currently there are 400,000 books ready to be be downloaded. Blackwell hopes that by summer, one million will be available.The machine, which resembles an industrial photocopier and printer, prints 105 pages a minute, or one book every five minutes or so.
Blackwell's aim is that the customer will be able to browse a catalogue in a kiosk next to the machine then press 'Make Book' and watch as their novel is created.
First the cover is run off, then the pages are printed and collated.
The pages are then clamped and glue applied to the spine. In the final stage, the pages are stuck to the cover before being trimmed to size from A4. The completed book then pops out of a slot in the side of the machine.
A 300-page out-of-print book would end up costing around $40-45, which is a bit pricey and will make people consider for awhile before pressing "print." But if someone really wants a hard copy book, it's not too expensive.
Blackwell feels that this will be the future of printed book distribution, and with e-readers on the rise, we tend to agree it's likely.
Via the Daily Mail
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