Monday, July 30, 2012

ESPRESSO (Book Machine), ANYONE?


A while back, I read an article in my local newspaper that talked about a printing press for the digital age. There, in black and white, was a photo of an independent bookstore in our nation’s capital where a store employee was using a new-fangled, self-contained printer called the Espresso Book Machine.
It really isn’t a simple copier. The Espresso Book Machine will print paperback books of various sizes, thickness, in color or black and white. The best part? It does it while you watch.
To say I was intrigued is an understatement. I immediately wondered how this would help me sell more books. I just proofed the first print copy of my Scottish Time Travel, My Honorable Highlander, so I soaked up every word in the article. I was more than eager to locate the machine and watch it in action.
Guess what? N.C.State has one! Nestled beneath the library on Hillsborough Street is the copy center called Wolf Xpress Print and Copy Service. Better yet, they planned to host a group of local writers with a demonstration. I snuck in and was welcomed by Teri Hellmann, the manager of Wolf Xpress, and her associate, Anthony. (I was actually invited by a member of the group)

The machine is no bigger than a good-sized office copier, but the sides are clear! You can watch the pages as they are printed. You can smell the glue as the cover is attached. Terri printed a approximately 9 by 7” book, of about 300 pages, in less than 5 minutes. When all was said and done, and they answered all the questions I could think of, they printed several copies of the Wolf Xpress Espresso Book Machine Manual and passed them out. Free!

The booklet states that N.C. State (my sister Kim Beegle’s Alma Mater) plans to produce:


·         Custom Textbooks

·         Course packs, lab manuals, & study guides

·         Student thesis & research projects

·         Novels and poetry collections

·         University or corporate reports

·         Comic Books & Graphic Novels

·         And more

Wow! Here is an opportunity for me to print my own books. It looks similar to the on-line publishing I am currently trying at Amazon’s Createspace. You choose the size you want the book, then download the template. Terri and her staff will even sell you an ISBN. They also have designers on staff who can create a book cover for you.
The demonstration was awesome, and I can see why colleges and independent bookstores might want these Espresso Book Machines. I paid a fee to Createspace to make my book available for sale to libraries and colleges, so I should be able to see more sales as these machines pop up. The newspaper article mentioned that this machine turns independent bookstores into places to get books published. It can potentially allow them to have as many books as Amazon, available within minutes to their in-store customer.
For the voracious reader (like me) NOT having to wait for the book to get shipped, is great. Also, for self-published authors whose books are not available at bookstores, hurray!
Nancy Lee Badger



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