Many of you were taken by the Espresso Book Machine by Xerox and the news of the first European Print-On-Demand bookstore opening in Paris. You had many questions in regards to the resulting book’s cost, the quality of printing etc, so I thought I’d come up with a little more information on the technology.
the Espresso Book Machine
Brandon Badger, Product Manager on Google Books, and Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand Books, discuss the Espresso Book Machine in the video below:
You will notice that it’s really a fancy laser printer with great collating and trimming features.
However, I couldn’t help but notice that the pages are A4-sized and printed in a portrait orientation (see 1’53” or image on the right). That means the machine is ideal for textbooks and reports, but fans of literature may find the end result unflattering.
At least, it’s not expensive: Xerox says that cost is under a penny per (A4) page, so that shouldn’t be too bad!
Services for Indies
Xerox is also offering services aimed specifically at Indies. Basically, you either use their own self-publishing toolset called SelfEspress and order online or take your completed PDF to any EBM location, and they do the rest. In a move that looks aimed at CreateSpace, Xerox also allows you to create your book on SelfEspress and they publish the ebook version on Amazon, B&N etc.
Here’s what the EBM website has to say on the subject:
SelfEspress℠ is the online self-publishing toolset for the Espresso Book Machine (EBM). The SelfEspress platform provides powerful writing & cover creation tools that allow you to collaborate with people as you write, and turn your finished work into a professional looking paperback or ebook with just a few clicks of the mouse.
You can use SelfEspress to create any type of book, from a personal family history to an epic novel, which you can choose to print only for yourself or make available for sale to others. By streamlining the file creation process and linking directly with EBM locations, SelfEspress makes it easier than ever to create and order your very own book from your local EBM. SelfEspress offerings include:
- The Writing Tool helps you organize the contents of your book and generates a fully formatted interior file based on your choice of professional book design template
- The Cover Tool allows you to add text and images, choose typefaces and colors and creates a cover file that corresponds perfectly with your book’s trim size and length
- Throughout the publication setup process, the site collects any necessary metadata, and even assigns an ISBN if you choose to sell your book
- At any point you can collaborate with friends, family members, editors, or anyone else you’d like to work with, allowing designated collaborators to view the project, provide feedback, or even make changes or additions
- Ordering books from an EBM has never been easier, and there are no minimums so you can purchase as many copies as you want, when you want. Place an order with the EBM location of your choice and have it shipped directly to you or pick it up in person
- SelfEspress also generates ebooks, so you can easily create a print and electronic version of your work in one go
- Projects can be Private so the book can only be ordered by you, while you also have the option to offer your work for sale in the SelfEspress Marketplace, via EBMs worldwide, and even online through distribution partners like Amazon, Ingram, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Learn more at www.selfespress.com
I love how this subject has caught your imagination. My author friend, Audrey Driscoll, shared a site that lists worldwide locations of Espresso Book Machines and offers a number of further information on the subject.
And author Sarah Zama has this to say on the subject of quality:
“I work in a bookshop, but the company is a publisher too. We do produce digital books in-house and use Xerox for this – a machine very much like the one in the video. Only we refile our books by hand.
There are indeed a few steps you need to do by hand to produce a book that looks and feels like a ‘real’ book (for example, to treat the cover so that it won’t deform with humidity), but this machine can produce POD-quality books.”
Hi i have one for sale as new condition 2017/18. believed to be the only one in uk/ireland email@example.com
Has Xerox discontinued the production of Espresso Book Machines?
No idea! Why, have you heard something?
For clarity, if purchasing the EBM machine, does one also have to purchase a printer like the Xerox model in the video?
No idea! I guess not, but you do need a printer capable of collating and binding everything.
Can it print out Amazon Kindle e-books?
From what I’ve read, yes, but you’d need to supply the PDF yourself. You can’t buy a book from Amazon and have it printed out yet.
We’ve come a long way baby, but still have farther to go. Who knows how this will end up. Changes. Changes. Forever changes. Nothing stands still. 🙂 Impressive. The possibilities are endless.
Changes. Changes everywhere!
Nothing stays the same. We can count on death, taxes and c.h.a.ng.e. 😀
I publish in paperback with Lightning Source (same company as IngramSpark) and they were offering Expresso BM distribution deals when I published my 1st novel in Dec 2013. I knew that it was something that was available in the US, but not how comparatively few outlets there are (with colleges seemingly being the more popular venues for understandable reasons)!
Are Google Books different to Expresso? Either way, I think this is a good thing in time for indies and bricks and mortar shops – imagine being able to get your book printed up while you wait (or go for a coffee…)! 😀
Oh, right! Didn’t realize that it’s been around for so long – thanks for sharing that.
Espresso prints hard copies; Google books is a virtual depository of ebooks.
Thanks, Nicholas, for this informative piece. 🙂 — Suzanne
A pleasure, as always 🙂
Very interesting to see what direction the business of publishing is going, Nicolas. Thanks for that.
Thanks for reading, Leslie 🙂
My pleasure, Nicholas.
So it’s still a bit a time before it produces finished books like we’re used to. I imagine the capabilities will advance rapidly as the technology improves. The publishing business is changing so quickly. It’s going to look different with every passing year. Exciting.
The video helps explain the concept, thanks! At $40 for a 400 page book it makes fiction pricey… but one step at a time. Maybe the next machine will be less expensive.
There’s always a next machine, isn’t there? 🙂
If they charge a penny a page then a 400-page book should be $4 which would be pretty workable. Don’t know if that includes printing and binding?
Damn, you’re right! People have been mentioning $40 for a $400 book, but it’s actually $4. Silly me…
I suppose it depends on the setting of the maschine. Since it has a cutting device, I think it could produce any kind of books.
I work in a bookshop, but the company is a publisher too. We do produce digital books inhouse and we use Xerox for this. A maschine very much like the one in the video. Only we refile our books by hand.
There are indeed a few steps you need to do by hand to produce a book that looks and feels like a ‘real’ book (for example, to treat the cover so that it won’t deform with umidity), but I suppose this maschine can produce books with the POD quality.
Just my two cents 😉
Oh, just realised I translated ‘digital’ in a way that might be confusing.
We call ‘digital’ printing the process that can be done in-house. Off-set is the traditional process, that which produces books we are accustomed to buy in bookstores.
There are a few things that can’t be done when producing a digital print, because the process is pretty standardise, but the end product it very professional looking nonetheless 🙂
Thanks for the clarification 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing that 🙂
Great Post and informative!
Hey, long time! Thanks 🙂