Found this interesting article about the Expresso publishing system John Dishon and others have mentioned. Now they are working out a system with a self-publisher to walk into a store, have your novel on software, pay your fees and walk out with as many books as you want within hours (if not sooner).

You can easily imagine this in libraries--even in convenience stores. The revolution has begun.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6711069.html

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I saw the Espresso in action at BEA last spring - it's VERY cool.
Wonder how much one of these systems cost? Can you imagine a thosaund publisher suddenly springing into life over night once this catches on?
Read this little article about the Expresso Publishing Machine.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/24/espresso-book-machine-l...
They cost about a hundred grand, but it's not hard to see that price going way down in the future if the volume is there. Variable cost for the stores is right around a penny a page. On a 300 page trade paperback sold for $12.99, that leaves ten dollars of profit to be split between the seller, the author and whatever publisher/distributor entities are involved. It's hard to see the distributors surviving this, and I think they know that, because Ingram/LSI has jumped on board, obviously hoping to find a way to stay part of the system.

Their web site suggests that going 12 hours a day, you can average as much as 150 books a day, which is going to be too low for this to replace the lion's share of paperbacks sold in decent sized bookstores. And of course, if it breaks, downtime could kill a store. Over time, I suspect technology will improve these items and lowering prices will make it possible for large stores to have multiple machines.

Another intriguing thought is how libraries that buy the machines will fit into the equation. If I can go support my local library by buying a book, I might very well do that instead of go to Borders or Barnes and Noble.

I commented a bit in the other thread on this whole topic. Something like this will happen, it's only a matter of time. Unless an even better/more radical solution presents itself, which is always possible.
What would the maintenance be like on this machine? Would it create environmental issues?

The newspaper I worked at also housed a printing press. It was messy, smelly and created truckloads of paper waste. Printing isn't as easy as pressing "go." There are chemicals to mix and paper to trim. Until I actually see one of these machines, I'm a bit skeptical about their practicality.
Benjamin -

Reading their site, the printing piece of it is essentially a very high end laser printer at its core. I have not seen the books, so I can't speak to their quality, which would be the only question I'd have.

- Ed
You got that right Ben. We have an "environmental" inspection of our press tomorrow - I'm worried about the amount of ink we throw everywhere.
Yeah, Ben. . . its a combination of a very fast laser printer attached to a device that cuts, sizes, and collates the novel and covers it. You feed sheets of paper at one end--the bound book (soft or hard in some cases) comes out at the other. But it has no where near the speed to do the volume a major bookstore chain might want.
Duly noted, thanks for clarifying, folks. That still leaves how the scrap paper is handled.

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