Have you heard of the Espresso Book Machine? Created by Xerox, it’s a printer robot that can print out an entire book in minutes. Bookstores no longer need to order and stock up on books; all they need is an Espresso Book Machine and an Internet connection.
If this sounds outlandish or futuristic, it is already used in the US in several universities as well as in some bookstores, such as McNally Jackson in southern Manhattan, New York.
And it’s now available in Europe, for the first time, as reported by The Siver Times. Located in the historic heart of Paris student, close to the famous university La Sorbonne, this library without stock opened on Saturday the 12th. It allows readers to select from nearly 5,000 titles available from the Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), as well as millions of international titles in the public domain. Books are sold at the same price as in a conventional bookstore and should not exceed 850 pages – a limit imposed by the machine’s technology.
Readers can browse the vast catalog on tablets before ordering.
Except for lowering stock costs, this is the perfect solution for titles whose demand is too low for them to be profitable with the traditional print model. As PUF director, Frédéric Mériot, said on the occasion of the presentation of the machine:
We thought that the digital kill the printed book, but this has not been the case. It may even be that the traditional book now has a second life.
I look forward to the day when Indie works are made available this way, and can’t help but wonder if this is a direction that Amazon Bookstores will take in the near future.
You can watch the Espresso Book Machine at work here:
As for cost, Xerox says that it’s is under a penny per (A4) page, so that shouldn’t be too bad.