Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Bookshop Santa Cruz unveils the Espresso Book Machine

Coming soon to a bookstore near you: the future of bookselling.

That's what Casey Coonerty Protti, owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz, calls the Espresso Book Machine. It's a piece of technology about the size of an old-fashioned Xerox copy machine that's capable of creating a professionally printed, perfect-bound, and trimmed paperback book in minutes—books to go, while you wait. And it's being unveiled to the public at a special launch party at Bookshop Santa Cruz next Wednesday, July 11.

Bearing the weighty technical name Espresso Book Machine® (EBM)—A Xerox Solution, the device is produced by parent company On Demand Books, and positioned to send the beleaguered book industry reeling into the future—ready or not.  Can't find the book you want on the shelves? No need to make a special order (or order it online), and wait days, or weeks, for it to arrive. The EBM will print one up for you on the spot—so long as the desired title is available through EspressNet®, the EBM's digital catalog of content. With major-player publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins (among others) making their in-print backlists available, and public domain titles provided through the Google Books program, there are currently some eight million titles available in any language via the EBM. As more publishers and book providers sign on, those numbers will only increase.

But wait—there's more. In addition to ushering in a brave new world of instant book access for readers, the EBM is poised to be a boon for authors, as well. The same technology that makes it possible to format and print a book on the spot will also allow an author to upload his or her manuscript and turn it into book form in a matter of minutes. Hard copy—an actual book!—that most elusive Holy Grail of so many unpublished authors is now within everyone's grasp. (Read more)


  1. I've been following this development as I interviewed the developers for a printing publication about 8 or 10 years ago. Glad to see that it's up and running and reliable. This will be a boon for self-published writers or anyone who wants to write, even if they are writers and want to tell their story. How much effort someone puts into preparing the book will no doubt effect the price and hopefully it will be affordable. This fills in the gap between small quanities and the ones and twos that someone may want. I've gotten to the point at my age where I print 100 copies and give them away or sell them to friends as there are something like 180,00 titles each year and only the top authors make any money. So authors: Write away, be sure to edit and get the book perfect, then print... a great development.

  2. It's a pretty irresistible idea, all right. When I did the interview, I couldn't get anyone to commit to how much it will actually cost the average person to upload a ms and print out a book, but Casey Protti at BSC promised me she'd have a pricing table ready at the launch party next Wednesday.