Saturday, December 23, 2006

Vending Machine for Books

Here's a (blurry) photo of the Espresso's debut at the World Bank earlier this summer.

I meant to post about this yesterday, but I got a little distracted by the (short-lived) snow showers and the demise of Flashing in the Gutters. When Sandra sent me an email about this, I couldn't decide whether I should be thrilled or freaked out. Aspiring writer/devoted reader, meet the Espresso Book Machine, a vending machine for books that will be making its U.S. debut in early 2007. The Espresso can print and bind a book up to 550 pages (complete with color covers) in about 7 minutes. Wanna see a boring video that shows it in action? Click here for a Quick time video.


I can't say I'm entirely surprised. When I was finishing up art school, I worked the night shift at a Kinko's that had a forerunner machine to the Espresso. It was a (ginormous) copy machine that could make books with card stock covers - tape or glue binding. It's performance was spotty, at best. Flash forward a little over 10 years, and here comes the Espresso. Betcha they've worked out most of the problems, huh?

Part of me is kinda excited. The bigger part is wondering just how this technology will be integrated into the current infrastructure and how the hell it's going to impact the publishing biz. Frankly, it makes my brain hurt to think about it right now. Sandra's got some interesting stuff to say about it over at In For Questioning, a new blog devoted (mainly) to small press publishing. Check out her post on the Espresso here. As for me, I think I need another medicated mocha - peppermint schnapps & kahlua make nice additions for the girl with the tired brain!


At 8:07 AM, Blogger anne frasier said...

i'm actually excited about this. well, excited isn't really the right word, but i'm thinking this could be the answer to stripped books and no shelf space.

the negative might be that publishers will toss all their midlist books into the espresso and only print and ship their big books. and then there's the out of print issue. all of my early books have reverted back to me after being out of print a certain amount of time. i'm guessing books will never go out of print with espresso.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger angie said...

I have a feeling that the Espresso will be used for midlist & tech books - and that is a little disturbing. Underscores the need for publicity plans (eurgh!).

Then again, the idea of books never going out of print is pretty sexy...

At 9:54 AM, Blogger anne frasier said...

i watched the video and just kept thinking paper jam.

going out of print can be a good thing for writers because the rights revert and that allows them to take their book elsewhere if the original pub screwed them. reversion of rights can give the book a second chance.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger M.E Ellis said...

Doing my last round of blogs before yuletide descends.

Merry Christmas, my friend.



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