ESPRESSO might seem an odd name for a bookmaking machine. But the wardrobe-sized apparatus at Blackwell, a bookstore in central London, and 30 other locations worldwide can print a paperback in about the time it takes to make and drink a shot of caffeine. A black-and-white printer produces the pages; a colour one the cover; they are then glued together by a third device which sits behind Plexiglas for passers-by to admire.
To some this is just "retail theatre", a clever way to lure people into bookstores. But others view it as the logical step in a development that has picked up speed recently, yet has not received nearly as much attention as electronic readers or touch-screen tablets: the printing of books on demand, rather than on a publisher's hunch. . . .
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Thursday, March 11, 2010
New Technology Promises to Prolong the Life of the Book
The Economist recently published an article on the Espresso Book Machine that produces on demand and within minutes a paperback book that's indistinguishable from the publisher’s version.