On-Demand Publishing (ODP) has already changed the business of publishing a great deal. Today ODP houses like Lulu.com (where I’ve published a few volumes myself) have removed the technical barrier between a writer and the finished-book format, although marketing still remains a challenge.
But easy and great as it is, ODP still takes time. And it concerns your own work. If you’d like have a copy of a long out-of-print work, good luck. The chances are you need to go a library near you and try to hunt it down.
The Espresso Book Machine has changed all that. Not only you can print an out-of-print or public domain volume within ten minutes (thanks to Google – see the news story at the end), but I guess you can print your own work that way as well. This $75,000 machine is the harbinger of true Instant While-You-Wait Book Printing.
Big corporations and institutions have already moved in on it and started to offer services that were not available just months earlier. Harvard University and New York Public Library have already installed one of these Espresso machines for people who can’t wait to have their out-of-print books found through inter-library loan service and delivered weeks or months later. Ten minutes – and presto! You get your book dropped hot and fresh into your hands.
Here is a related news item of interest concerning Google’s involvement in all this:
As a result of an agreement with On Demand Books, Google will bring more than 2 million book titles in its digital library back to life as paperbacks. Google has granted On Demand, the maker of the Espresso Book Machine, immediate access to these files.
The Espresso Book Machine is a high-speed, automated book-making machine that can print, bind and trim a paperback book, with a full-color paperback cover, in a few minutes. The machine is available in about a dozen locations worldwide, including libraries and trade and campus bookstores, and already offers about 1.6 million titles.
“With the Google inventory, the EBM will make it possible for readers everywhere to have access to millions of digital titles in multiple languages, including rare and out-of-print public-domain titles,” says Jason Epstein, chairman and co-founder of On Demand Books.
“… In a matter of minutes, you can get a paperback book identical to the one you can get in a store at point of sale,” adds Dane Neller, CEO and co-founder of On Demand. “In addition to readers, On Demand Books will bring substantial benefits to authors, retailers and publishers. It has the potential to change the publishing industry.”
According to the Associated Press, On Demand and Google each will get $1 of every sale; Google says it will donate its proceeds to charity. The books published by the Espresso Machine will have a recommended sale price of $8 per copy; however, the final pricing decision will be left to each retailer.