Have you heard of the Espresso Book Machine? Created by Xerox, it’s a printer robot that can print out an entire book in minutes. Bookstores no longer need to order and stock up on books; all they need is an Espresso Book Machine and an Internet connection.
If this sounds outlandish or futuristic, it is already used in the US in several universities as well as in some bookstores, such as McNally Jackson in southern Manhattan, New York.
And it’s now available in Europe, for the first time, as reported by The Siver Times. Located in the historic heart of Paris student, close to the famous university La Sorbonne, this library without stock opened on Saturday the 12th. It allows readers to select from nearly 5,000 titles available from the Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), as well as millions of international titles in the public domain. Books are sold at the same price as in a conventional bookstore and should not exceed 850 pages – a limit imposed by the machine’s technology.
Readers can browse the vast catalog on tablets before ordering.
Except for lowering stock costs, this is the perfect solution for titles whose demand is too low for them to be profitable with the traditional print model. As PUF director, Frédéric Mériot, said on the occasion of the presentation of the machine:
We thought that the digital kill the printed book, but this has not been the case. It may even be that the traditional book now has a second life.
I look forward to the day when Indie works are made available this way, and can’t help but wonder if this is a direction that Amazon Bookstores will take in the near future.
You can watch the Espresso Book Machine at work here:
As for cost, Xerox says that it’s is under a penny per (A4) page, so that shouldn’t be too bad.
And if you came here looking for coffee instead of books, check out this post on actual espresso machines by Fourth Estate Coffee!
Very newsworthy. Thanks as always. Now let’s see if it the trend spreads! 🙂
Wow! I like this idea a lot! It could really work for Indie authors and I’m sure booksellers would be delighted to not have to risk splashing out on vast quantities of stock. Sounds like a Win-win. Just depends I suppose on the cost of purchasing a machine, and how long it takes to print. Could be slow with huge queues building. Customers are used to having everything they want now, or even yesterday! Lol!
Guilty as charged 😀
Yes, my friend Garry told me about this. He has it in his Canadian library. But he said the book ends up being really expensive, something like $40. per. As with anything else, once they have them all over the price might drop. Cool idea, though.
$40?!! I guess it might make sense in an academic environment, where books are traditionally pretty expensive, but that’s way too high a cost for “normal” books. Especially since the post claims that costs are comparable.
Yeah, I know. They charge you by the page, then an additional charge for the cover. We’d all go broke fast.
Lol – we sure would 😀
An update: I just saw this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyNSap5XSv0
Xerox says the cost is under a penny per page. So, $40 would get you at least a 400-page book.
Perhaps your friend’s workplace is adding a healthy profit margin? 😉
I just saw that on the news, and was just about to re-comment. Maybe it’s high because it’s Canada? No idea.
I’ll schedule a followup post with the video 🙂
I see that the bookstore of the University of Victoria (here in Victoria, British Columbia) has one of these machines. Looks like authors can upload a book for $80 (Cdn) with a further $25 for subsequent uploads. They offer a catalogue of over 4 million titles that can be printed and purchased. I’ve also heard that some public libraries have bought them as a service (for a fee, I’m thinking) to their users. The idea is folks can produce books such as memoirs or family histories in limited numbers. I wonder if the machines actually make money for their hosting institutions, given their considerable cost.
I don’t know about that, but it’s a wonderful initiative, and I’m grateful that you shared this info with us 🙂
Right after I hit Send I thought I should also share this link: https://ondemandbooks.com/ebm_locations_list.php
This site lists worldwide locations of Espresso Book Machines — there are several in the Library of Alexandria, for example. (I doubt if any of them produces books in scroll form, however). 🙂
Lol – a scroll form might be the killer app for this machine 😀
Many thanks for sharing the link! I’ll add it to the post 🙂
It would make sense for them to. (amazon stores) 🙂
It’d make perfect sense. I wonder if that’s the thinking behind their physical presence.
Tweeted & shared on FB – about time we got this on this side of the Atlantic! 😀
Thanks for sharing! Now, it needs to come across the Channel, and down the Mediterranean.
Amazing. That is so cool. It’s especially good if it extends to indies since we have limited ability to line bookstore shelves. I don’t want bookstores to go out of business, but I like the idea of offering more books to readers. 🙂 Both is good.
Say, I’ve been meaning to email you. I’m finishing my next (non fiction) book with writing tips, and I’d love to include a post of yours – the one about death.
Cool! Yay! Let me know if you want any changes and feel free to correct typos! Let me know if you want it emailed to you, whatever you need 😀 😀 😀 Thanks!
Yay! Thank you so much 🙂
Seems like wonderful news. Once again, Nicholas, thanks for keeping me up to date with the latest! Happy week!
You too! I’ve been meaning to email you, actually. I’ve come across a book I know you’ll love, and wanted to send you a (physical) copy, but will need your address 🙂
That is very kind of you, thanks!
I’ve seen your reply on the tablet, just haven’t had a chance to respond yet 😀
This could be a boon to booksellers, not having to have huge stocks and shelf space. They could enlarge the cafe society aspect of their premises, by having customers enjoying the social aspect, as they choose the book they want printed. I have to say, I really like the concept, as long as it doesn’t end up just like going into a print/copy shop in some industrial unit.
Best wishes, Pete.
Agreed. I like the arts & crafts aspect of it 🙂
It sounds very promising certainly. I wonder how much a book will cost. Obviously expensive at first with new technology but there is definitely something good in the idea. Time will tell.
The article claimed it’s similarly priced to a traditionally-published book. Which makes sense, or it would have a pretty hard time on the market 🙂
I wish we had one here in Australia!
Same here 🙂
Have to agree with what Drewdog said. This would definitely be a useful tool for authors to create bulk products. Definitely make it easier to get stuff ready for a convention since paperback books can be expensive. Do the universities use these for textbooks or fun reading books?
I actually don’t know. I imagine they, too, have access to the millions of royalty-free books published, say, by Google’s Gutenberg project.
The question is if they use it. I still remember how insanely priced college textbooks were. Had to be part of a scam.
It is. It has to do with rights and publishers milking a captive audience.
And the cut that the university gets. Always comes down to money.
Perfect for academia, but I’m so sure I like the idea for more traditional books. All seems a little cold and heartless, especially when you have Shakespeare and Company not too far away. I love that place.
Ah, a romantic 🙂
Oh, how interesting gpeynon that you have gone to Shakespeare and Company. Is it as nice as it looks on the website?
It’s amazing. A real little gem, and a treasure trove of nooks and crannies, stuffed full of books to sell.
I’m forewarding this to my boss. I work in a university bookshop. Who know? Next of these machines may appear in Verona 😉
Fantastic news!! Thank you for sharing 🙂
A pleasure, as always 🙂
I wonder if in the not to distant future authors will purchase such machines and print off copies each time an order is received. I know the technology is expensive at the moment but, given a little time the price will drop. Kevin
Good point! But you’d have to operate a one-man shop, and the logistics can be daunting.
Welcome to the future! What an amazing idea, I hope we see this technology in New Zealand at some point 🙂
Greece, too 🙂