print on demand

Wow: The Espresso Book Machine

Literature Terminator.

Literature Terminator.

From the press release:

Blackwell, the UK’s leading academic bookseller, has unveiled the launch of the 2.0 Espresso Book Machine (EBM) at its flagship store, 100 Charing Cross London. It is the first bookshop installation of its kind within the UK, allowing any book to be selected from an inexhaustible network of titles and prints on demand in just 3 minutes from a digital file onsite, online at, or uploaded in person from CDs or flash drives.

This bad boy whips up a book in three minutes.   Go on to read more about the implications of such a device.

My take:  This is definitely a much more ecologically sustainable process than the standard model of book production, which is exciting.  It also completely removes the barrier of entry to producing a book, which, I’d argue, is a very ‘good’ thing; the more art the better.  It’s happening all around us; the availability of cheap means of production means that anyone with a computer and a camera can make a movie, anyone with a computer near this behemoth or can make a book, anyone with a computer and Garageband/Audible can make music, etc.  Distribution will be the sticking point in media for awhile, and it’s going to get messy.  I look forward to help making the mess.

What do you think?

EDIT: Also, a thin treatise on paperback vs. hardback after the jump…


Random & Technology / 16 Comments
April 16th, 2009 / 6:15 pm