A new method to stay competitive in the digital age for physical-product book merchants has emerged–the Espresso Book Machine (featured in the video above). If a customer wants an out-of-stock book, a bookstore with the printing machine from On Demand Books can create a copy of it on site.
The Wall Street Journal spotlighted the economics of the machine in a Vancouver bookstore: “Oscar’s Art Books in Vancouver says it has sold about 1,500 digitally printed books since it bought a special printer in March. The machine, which cost about $118,000, accesses an online library of titles and then prints, trims and binds paperbacks on demand. ‘Of course the fun is being able to watch their book being made,’ says Oscar’s manager Barry Bechta.”
Stores like Oscar’s pay less than a penny a page and a licensing fee to print an out-of-stock volume for their customers. The Espresso Book Machine was publicly available in 2006. On Demand Books has a partnership with Google for access to public domain titles.