Freedom of Choice, 100 Pages at a Time

I stumbled across this interesting piece on the Internet, and immediately I began clicking on anything related to the Espresso Book Machine. The folks at On Demand Books have created a printer that can not only print 100 pages of a book in a minute, but will also bind it in a cover and have it in your hands instantaneously. Here’s what NPR has to say:

In a move some are calling the most significant step in publishing in the past 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.

I’m not sure that the Espresso Book Machine will negatively impact e-book readers: many an e-book reader is drawn to products such as the Kindle because of convenience and portability, and are willing to dispense the cash needed to have such a gadget. With the EBM only available in less than a dozen locations currently in the US, it’s hardly revolutionary… yet. But the fact that anyone can walk in to a location where a EBM printer is available with a CD or memory stick of their book on file and walk away with a hard copy in minutes is a step towards revolutionary. The bigger step is On Demand Books’ connection to Lightening Source Inc. – a company that handles the printing needs for many a publisher worldwide – is key, as it puts countless number of books on electronic file, allowing individuals in range of a EBM to print and purchase any title under the LSI (and who’s publisher’s have given the “ok” for EBM printing) immediately. And that’s a pretty big key.

A reason I’ve looked into all of this is because of the options I’m looking at for America Is Just A Word. There are a lot of self-publishing-companies online, and many have their positives and negatives. But, the idea that I could create my own “publishing house” to put out my book is really enticing. I could forgo the unruly fees a number of the online companies have (I understand they have to have some way to survive – but charging $2 for each footnote or endnote?) in order to have 100% control over America Is Just A Word, from the cover to the character load. And with LSI’s capacity, there is quite an advantage; it appears relatively cheap (a $12 a year fee is all you need to keep a “print on demand” book in their system) and they’re printing capabilities allow for one to sell a book through many a popular online bookseller.

Of course, there are a number of complicated issues I’m overlooking. But the concept of all the design options, publishing opportunities, and promotion being left completely up to me is quite enticing. Now all I need to do is finish America Is Just A Word!


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