Espresso Book Machines Invade the Bookstore

espresso book machineAt Future Perfect Publishing, I have often written about On Demand Book’s Espresso Book Machine(EBM) and the potential benefits of “print at the point of purchase.”  The EBM allows books to be downloaded and printed on demand, essentially at the time of purchase.   Now, according to BTW, Vermont’s Northshire Books is preparing to launch an in-store print-on-demand program. They are the first commercial bookstore in the world, to have one of the Espresso Book Machines on premises. 

General manager Chris Morrow told BTW that Northsire wants to:

. . . provide more choice for our customers.  We are bringing back into print local histories, and we will be publishing local authors. We will also have access to all public domain titles.

The store will publish titles under their Northshire Press imprint, and will also offer self-publishing services to customers under the Shires Press label.  Morrow indicated that most of the titles will be locally orientated, but sees the potential for significant expansion in the years ahead. 

An article in the Manchester Journalindicated that the store would charge between $.05 to $.08 per page.  The system is the first to be placed in a bookstore.  The other four installations have been at libraries and museums, most recently the New York Public Library.  While the system is not for commercial sale at this point in time, Morrow used his personal connections with On Demand Books to arrange to be a beta site.  Currently, only books that are out of copyright protection are available to be printed.  The founders of On Demand Books are working out arrangements with publishers to get greater access to copyrighted material as well.  The EBM has the potential to allow retailers to make less popular books readily available to customers without having to carry inventory.  From the publishers side, it could mean that stores could carry titles without the publisher having to pay for fulfillment, shipping and returns.  In both respects, it could take the “long tail” revolution to the next level.

chris and barbara morrowNorthshire Bookstorewas founded by Chris and Barbara Morrow in 1976.  The store opened its doors in Manchester Center, Vermont in  September, 1976 and has gone through two major expansions as well as the addition of a small restaurant called the Spiral Press Café.  On the store’s website, Barbara Morrow writes:

We will keep growing in the sense that we are always open to new ideas and interesting ventures. We live in a fast changing world, where one of the main constants is change itself. With your help, we hope to be able to respond.

By becoming the first commercial bookstore to use the Espresso Book Machine, they are continuing that pioneering spirit. 


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