The End of Book Warehouses?

Newsweek reports that publishing legend Jason Epstein is one of the backers behind the Espresso Book Machine, a new device that can print-out a bound book in minutes for "a penny a page." A 300 page book can be produced in just three minutes.

Imagine if there were a magic machine that could print entire books in
mere minutes. You could go to a bookstore or coffee shop, choose a book
online from millions of digital titles and then—poof!—out would come a
fully bound book. You could get rare and out-of-print titles, in any
language, and for less because the inventory isn’t stored on site.

The machine is now being tested at the World Bank Bookstore in Washington D.C.

5 thoughts on “The End of Book Warehouses?”

  1. I love this idea. It’s like instant Amazon. I’m not a gentle reader – when I finish with a book, the bindings bent badly, and I’ve probably folded the corners of dozens of pages. So I won’t mind paying for a lower quality of paper and/or binding in exchange for getting my book right away.
    If this model works, then I hope that this will trigger a revival of the midlist.

  2. I love this idea, too. I also loved it six years ago. Much like a cheap, ergonomically pleasing dedicated e-book reader, I’ll enjoy it next year in Jerusalem.

  3. Like one of the others above, I thought this was a great idea a few years ago when I first heard about it.
    I’ve never heard what kind of books it prints, however. Paperback, obviously, but trade or mass market? And will the covers be generic or reproductions of the official covers?
    Also, I wonder about if this will really be viable in a couple of years if/when e-paper takes off. I remember a machine in Tower Records about twenty years ago that would build you a tape while you wait from a catalog of about 10,000 songs. Great idea, but unfortunately it was the dawn of the CD. So if paper, as an entertainment medium, is on the way out, will book printers such as this just be the last stage of evolution for the dinosaur?


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