Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Espresso Book Machine. Sugar for you?

A number of different sources reported about the new "Espresso Book Machine". The machine was showcased at the BEA conference in NYC which I attended last week. According to the sources:

The new machine as a technological innovation promises to revolutionize how we buy books. It allows printing and binding a single copy of a book at the point of demand without human interactions. Buying a book will eventually be very similar to getting cash from an ATM. You choose a title, insert a credit card to pay for the book -- and walk away with the finished book a few minutes later. On a global scale this would eliminate shipping and warehousing costs for books (thereby also eliminating returns and pulping of unsold books) and allow simultaneous global availability of new books. POD offers the opportunity to deliver development knowledge and content to students, practitioners, media, and simply interested individuals in a way they could not be reached before.

The articles report that the machine, which is intended for use in bookstores, libraries and other retail outlets, will sell for less than $100,000 and that currently has access to over 200,000 out-of-copyright books through the Open Content Alliance, a number of Arabic-language books from the Library of Alexandria and 2,200 World Bank titles (!).

Here are some sources: Publisher Weekly, CNN Money, the World Bank (!)
Here's a video of how it works.

It's been defined as "the future of the book". It sounds familiar, doesn't it. Let's bet: how many years before finding some similar at Walmart or El Corte Ingles or La Rinascente?


At November 27, 2007 at 2:23 AM , Blogger David Orban said...

Actually these machines exist already, and are used by to print volumes in print runs as small as one. They are around one million, so the cost reduction of an order of magnitude is the 'right' one based on Moore's Law.

I am looking forward to see them spreading in two years' time! :)

But personally I am more excited to see the rapid emergence of more general 3d printers, which promise to revolutionize the entire industrial production process, not just that of one product only. For that I'd say ten years. :)


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