Google Books Opens Door To On-Demand Printing

By: Doug Caverly - September 17, 2009

Few people would argue that computer monitors – no matter how big and how nice – are suitable for displaying entire books.  Even if the text looks okay, monitors still can’t be carried into the kitchen or held above your head on a recliner.  So it may interest readers (along with critics of the Google Books settlement) to know that Google has provided On Demand Books access to its library.

On Demand Books is the maker of the Espresso Book Machine, which can print, bind, and trim complete paperback novels in just a few minutes’ time.  You can see a demonstration of the process in the video below.

Espresso Book Machines are located in a limited number of bookstores and libraries around the globe.  Jason Epstein, the chairman and cofounder of On Demand Books, explained, "ODB, in effect an ATM for books, will radically decentralize direct-to-consumer distribution.  With the Google inventory the EBM will make it possible for readers everywhere to have access to millions of digital titles in multiple languages, including rare and out of print public domain titles."

Obviously, this move has a certain "cool" factor.  The development may make people who object to the Google Books settlement take a step back, too – it’s harder to argue that Google’s hoarding things when paper copies of books are just a few button pushes away.

Then again, Brandon Badger, a product manager at Google, may have made other folks nervous by writing on the Inside Google Books blog, "If sentient robots ever succeed in taking over the world, this is how they will print their books."

Doug Caverly

About the Author

Doug CaverlyDoug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

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  • Steve

    I wonder how many people have begun to read books on Google and how many would want to print them out. Kindle seems to be taking off from Amazon for those that get over the initial reading style change. Netbooks could provide a similar experience with Google Books as the source.

  • Internet Marketing SEO

    I think Kindle is where the market is headed. Although I do enjoy a nice book, the printing of one (or a decent sized one) sounds like a job & a half on my printer…I’d rather just dump it to a Kindle or Kindle-like piece of equipment.

  • Guest

    I wonder if it is an inkjet printer or laser printer. I print business cards on an inkjet, and I’m always worried that the businessman across the table will put down his water glass, pick up my card, and watch the colors run down the card stock as soon as the water hits it.

    Inkjets are great until you introduce water to the process, and then the money you spent on the book just washed away in your hands. Hope they had the sense to use a laser printer.

    • Andrew Mills

      there are special inks now that you can use in your inkjet printer and they resist water and do not run. they are a little more expensive but works very well.

  • Helen Hunt – Free Links

    Its a good thing to have a machine that can dispense books on demand, but I truly question how many people are likely to use it. Given that most people are very concerned about the environment and carbon footprint. I’d rather buy a book that’s already printed or use ebooks online than use these on demand services. Nice concept though but not for me.

  • Guest

    OK, I just checked their site. It’s a laser printer.

  • Book Binding

    is certainly very interesting, but then we see the cost of production and quality of books.
    the machine produces also hard cover books ?

  • leon

    When can I start ordering, and where do I go to do it?

  • online printing service

    Wow really? Lts of time saving procedure and perform lots of activities. IT can print, bind, and trim complete paperback novels in just a few minutes’ time. It is really fantastic.

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