Cream, Sugar, or Paperback?

In the 21st century, when books are thought to be on the decline and instant, abbreviated information sharing is the norm, new technology that makes books more available to the public is always a talking point. Enter the Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books.

That’s why I’ve chosen “Company’s ‘ATM For Books’ Prints On Demand” from NPR’s Rob Gifford for the next ProfoundNet. Here’s a snippet:

In a move some are calling the most significant step in publishing in the last 500 years, a New York company is trying to make books available on demand, printed out locally, rather than centrally as they always have been. On Demand Books has installed a trial machine in a central London bookstore. It’s called the Espresso machine, but it has nothing to do with coffee beans. This baby’s grinding out books.

For about $15, customers can locate those obscure titles a small bookstore could never afford to stock and at a rate of 100 pages per minute, have the book printed and bound right in the shop. 

According to On Demand Books CEO Dane Neller, the Espresso “will help keep paper books way ahead of electronic books, such as those available on the Amazon Kindle.”  The machine is touted to be perfect for out-of-print books, obscure or low-demand titles, and first time authors struggling to find a publisher.

In the USA, On Demand Books has tested Espresso Book Machines at locations in Ann Arbor, MI; San Francisco; New Orleans; Manchester Center, VT; Provo, UT; Washington, DC; and New York City. 

Will the EBM prove just another fad, or will it live up to the promises of its publishers? “What Gutenberg’s press did for Europe in the 15th century, digitization and the Espresso Book Machine will do for the world tomorrow.”  

I look forward to finding out, and only wish an EBM were available closer to where I live, so I could test it personally.

Thanks, Ron, for a thought-provoking article. For more info, visit On Demand Books at


One Response to Cream, Sugar, or Paperback?

  1. Natalie says:

    Oh, I want to try one in London! In Charing Cross road even!

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