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Espresso Book Machine: Will that be one lump or two?

abstract:I guess Starbucks is unintentionally to blame for the catchy name of the new one-off book machines coming to a book store near you. After all, doesn't book browsing and expresso-quaffing go hand in hand? Maybe the tagline of the new technology will be, "Sip your latté AND self-publish your own book!" POD, or Print On Demand technology is coming to Village Books in Bellingham, Washington. Yup that little store in the upscale waterfront neighborhood of Fairhaven owned by Chuck Robinson. Chuck and his team have just returned from Northshire Bookstore in Vermont. That's the book store claiming to be the first book store in North America (and only one of a few around the world) to have a POD book making machine. Chuck and his staff were toured and ostensibly tutored at the art of book making - Espresso-style. A video on YouTube shows the whole process. Just enter the book parameters, press the button (don't forget to order your latté) and voila - your self published book awaits you with full color soft cover, hot glued or perfect bound. ("And," my professional publishing friends might add "...all the original spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, style no-no's and lack of editorial vision..." You get their point.)


August 21, 2009
— Apparently it costs customers little more than the price of their latté. The machine itself though, costs $50K, and it can produce a new book every few minutes. So you'll have to order a lot of coffees if you plan to print in larger numbers. But heck, sure beats going to Kinko's to DIY photocopy all those samples of your manuscript to send to snooty literary agents or traditional pub houses that wind up in the "unsolicited mail" bins - a virtual purgatory for manuscripts, only to—statistically speaking—eventually receive a type-written decline. Wait! We've got more cheerful news on developments in the book publishing industry. After you learn about POD, discovered one indi book publisher who is bucking the downward trend in profits in the industry. It's the Greenleaf Book Company.

Espresso Book Machine

Here is what On Demand Books had to say about the Espresso Book Machine:
"The EBM is essentially an ATM for books that automatically prints, binds, and trims, on demand at point of sale, perfect-bound, library-quality paperback books. These books, which have full color covers, are indistinguishable from other books sold in bookstores. A 300-page book can be produced in four minutes (serially, in three minutes) for a cost of consumables of a penny per page (the EBM can produce a book of up to 830 pages). “EspressNet,” the EBM’s proprietary and copyrighted software system, assures the security of publishers’ titles, automatically tracks all jobs, and remits all royalty payments. "

So next time you consider sending out 25 different copies of your manuscript to 25 different publishing houses or literary agents, why not head to Bellingham and speak to Chuck? To avoid embarrassment though - do get an editor to take a peek first!

An Indi Publishing House That Is Making Profits: How?

It's no secret that the publishing market is in trouble. People are reading less. People who do read, have other options about where and how they read. Technology is a boon to some and breaking others. First there's the digitalization of books and the proliferation of e-books and things like iphone apps to download digital books. Then there's the businesses who make money simply offering one chapter of a book (which the reader may decide to purchase - or not.) So it comes as no surprise that traditional publishing houses with hefty up-front costs using old business models have suffered decreasing profits for 4 out of the last 5 years.

Enter Greenleaf Book Group. Alltop reports, "Clint Greenleaf told his friends that writing books wasn't that hard. They called him on it, at which point the ROTC Marine cranked out a 30-page grooming primer called Attention to Detail:A Gentlemen's Guide to Appearance, and posted a single free ad for it in Bottom Line/Personal magazine. In a few months he was collecting a hundred $5 checks in the mail daily, eclipsing his accountant's salary, and by the following year had launched a publishing company out of his parents' garage."

The next thing Greenleaf did is what more and more publishers are doing. Instead of accepting manuscripts, paying an upfront author's book advance and recouping it after-the-fact with book sales, Greenleaf tells the authors to pay up-front for the cost of publishing their book (like $60,000 worth) and THEN offers them a whopping 70% commission on sales instead of a paltry 20% offered to first-time authors (recouped AFTER they've sold enough books to cover their advance.)

In this way Greenleaf Book Group is reporting that revenue was up 37% to $8.1 million in 2008 and looks likely to top $9 million this year. Greenleaf has hired 15 of his 30 staffers in the last year and a half and plans to bring on 8 more--including marketers, salespeople and editors--by year's end."

Further Links What Gutenberg’s press did for Europe in the 15th century digitization and the Espresso Book Machine will do for the world tomorrow. Library quality paperbacks at low cost, identical to factory made books, printed direct from digital files for the reader in minutes, serving a radically decentralized world-wide multilingual marketplace. In essence, an ATM for books. The book store claiming to be the first in America to offer POD technology in it's store.

Book Publishing Offers Profitable Model: by Christopher Steiner. (Source material at Alltop originally published on



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