Espresso Book Machine: Unlimited Possibilities for Readers

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.

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World Book Day in a Digital Age



Photo credit: TheCreativePenn


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

a very cool and very seemingly green idea. love it

ii q.
g d c6 years ago


Bryna H.
Bryna H.6 years ago

The American owners of 2 of the biggest book stores in The Netherlands bought 2 of these Esperesso Machines. I have printed 4 of my novels for children on the one here in Amsterdam. A 280 page novel costs me €15 and sells in 3 other shops for €20. The shops take 5 at a time so are happy with a small markup.
The shorter books cost €12.50 a pop - that's the basic price for anything under 200 pages. They are indistinguishable from commercially-published editions. Covers in color but no color illustrations inside, which means it's not a good method for picture books. But I've got my work out there and have given copies to family and friends and don't feel I wasted 6 years of my life writing these nice little books.
As someone has already written, there are huge advantages to printing only what can be quickly sold (in a couple of months, that is), and way down the line I'll still be able to fill orders. A friend published her recently deceased son's writing, something no publisher would have done. And given the shlock and junk those big commercial companies do publish, let's thank g-d some decent stuff is available.

Ken W.
Ken W6 years ago

HEMP is the only way to fly !!

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber6 years ago

Since when are trees the ONLY source of paper?

Combine this tech, with paper made from hemp. The beauty is that the hemp plant has a LOT more uses than just toking up. The paper made from hemp is VERY high quality and the other parts of the plant, get used for other things like clothes, medicines, oil, fuel and building material. A field of hemp literally out-performs a hillside of trees, production rate wise, by a country mile.

So rather than bitch about trees, clue in that we simply need OTHER options that will feed the need, without damaging the planet.

Oh & add the whole "grows like a weed" thing to the mix, you get a plant that's extremely good at cleaning the air while it's growing too.

Robert Ludwig
Robert Ludwig6 years ago

The beauty of this is that we can still have real hold in your hands books while limiting the number of trees that are killed. You only have to print the copies that are actually sold, not the thousands of copies needed to make a print order cost effective and sit on the shelves only hoping to be sold. For those of us that prefer the feel of a real book in our hands instead of a Kindle or Nook manufactured by Asian slaves, this is a prayer answered.

Johnice R.
Johnice R6 years ago

Destroying more trees faster...eReaders save the trees, aka the lungs of the Earth.

Randi Levin
Randi Levin6 years ago

Impressive sure, but not too good for the publishers and authors!

Kamryn M.
Kay M6 years ago


John Mansky
John Mansky6 years ago

Very interesting,thank you...