Despite the recent doom and gloom in the book publishing industry, which still mourns the fall of Borders and isn’t always quite sure what to do about Amazon or e-books, there are actually more books being written and published than ever. For bookstores, that means that shelf space is at a premium — and no store, no matter how lovingly curated, can stock every book that its potential customers may want to buy.
Enter the Espresoo Book Machine.
This print-on-demand device produces a printed and bound version of any book — even ones that are out of print — in under six minutes. The product is of such high quality that it is nearly indistinguishable from a book that you would pluck off a shelf at your local bookstore.
The Espresso Book Machine debuted in 2007 at the New York Public library, but has only appeared in a handful of bookstores and libraries nationwide in the five years since its inception, probably because of its nearly $100,000 price tag, but these machines may represent the future of book printing.
The Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, CO, “a literary lighthouse,” is one institution that houses an Espresso Book Machine. The store’s owner, Joyce Meskis, is often regarded as one of the literary leaders in the United States. Although Meskis is aware of the issues facing her industry, she believes that, in the end, the message within a book is the most important thing:
“While the delivery systems change we’re still an industry dedicated to the communication of ideas,” she said. (Denver Post)
Wherever your book comes from, whether it’s one of Amazon’s giant warehouses or a local printer, is becoming largely irrelevant in our globalized society. However, the Espresso Book Machine opens up possibilities for reader (and booksellers) that were completely unknown before. In fact, this mini printing press may save local book culture, while opening up a new world of books at the same time.
Photo credit: TheCreativePenn