News & Reviews
First "Espresso Book Machine" unveiled at BookExpo America Convention
At the BookExpo America convention in New York City, legendary
publishing executive Jason Epstein
and business partner Dane Neller
unveiled the first "Espresso Book Machine," an ATM vending machine for
books which will revolutionize publishing by printing and delivering
physical books to consumers within minutes.
created by Epstein and Neller's company On Demand Books, was
demonstrated at the Book Store of the Future exhibit at the Crystal
Pavilion of the Jacob Javits Center.
Customers can order a title directly at the machine or via the World
Wide Web at their own computers. Next, proprietary software will
transmit a digital file to the book machine, which will automatically
print, bind, and trim the customer's selection within minutes as a
single, library-quality, paperback book, indistinguishable from the
factory-made title. The transaction will be much like buying a book
from Amazon.com except that delivery will be within minutes, not days;
the choice of titles will be vastly greater, always in print and in
many languages; and the retail price can be considerably less because
much of the existing supply chain will be omitted.
Unlike existing print on demand technology, Espresso Book Machines are
fully integrated, automatic machines that require minimal human
intervention. They do not require a factory setting and are small
enough to fit in a retail store. While traditional factory based print
on demand machines usually cost over $1 million per unit, the Espresso
Book Machine is priced to be affordable for retailers.
The direct-to-consumer model of the Espresso Book Machine eliminates
shipping and warehousing costs for books (thereby also eliminating
returns and pulping of unsold books) and allows simultaneous global
availability of millions of new and backlist titles in all categories
and languages. These savings permit potentially lower prices to
consumers and greater royalties and profits to authors and publishers.
Also, titles will never have to go out of print again.
"Printed books are one of history's greatest and most enduring
inventions, and after centuries, their form needs no improvement," says
Epstein. "What does need to change is the outdated way that books reach
The first commercial model of the Espresso Book Machine, version 1.5,
will be installed in June 2007 at The New York
Public Library (at the Science, Industry and Business
Library branch), and this summer and fall at the New Orleans Public
Library, the University of Alberta (Canada) campus bookstore, the
Northshire Book Store in Manchester, Vermont, and at the Open Content
Alliance in San Francisco. Beta versions of the Espresso Book Machine
are already in operation at the World Bank Infoshop in Washington, DC
and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (The Library of Alexandria, Egypt).
National book retailers and hotel chains are among the companies in
talks with On Demand Books about ordering machines in quantity.
Jason Epstein, Cofounder of On Demand Books is a former editorial
director of Random House. He has received many honors for his long
record of innovation including the Curtis Benjamin Award of the
American Association of Publishers for inventing new kinds of
publishing and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Book
Critics Circle for creative publishing.
Dane Neller, Cofounder of On Demand Books, served as President and CEO
of Dean & Deluca from 1997-2005.
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