Good news for book-lovers: the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) from On Demand Books in New York is being launched by Self-Publish Press and Xerox at the University of Johannesburg’s Main Library.
The EBM brings to South Africa a revolutionary book-publishing technology that is the only digital-to-print at retail on the market. Within minutes, the EBM produces a bookstore quality paperback book with colour cover, in any standard trim size, at point of sale. The content is fed to the machine via EspressNet software, On Demand Books’ growing digital network of over 8-million titles.
Much like an iTunes for books EspressNet retrieves, encrypts, transmits and catalogues books from multiple English and foreign language sources (including public domain sources, traditional publishers and self-published authors). Writers can upload their own books for printing into a physical book, and, if so desired, for inclusion on Espressnet.
The EBM technology offers libraries and bricks-and-mortar retailers the opportunity to become community self-publishing centres. In addition the EBM provides a new sales channel for publishers and vastly increases the availability of titles for physical bookstores, thus significantly reducing loss of sales due to books being out of stock.
The EBM improves efficiency and sustainability by eliminating shipping, returns and pulping of unwanted books.
“The implications of the EBM for education in Africa are enormous,” says Dane Neller of On Demand Books.
“We are excited to be working with Self-Publish Press on this pioneering EBM. Following the lead of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and other prestigious universities in the USA and Canada, UJ can claim a first for South African Universities,” says Dr Rookaya Bawa, head of Library and Information Services at UJ.
To date Espresso Book Machines have been placed in bookstores, libraries, universities and other locations in the USA, Canada, the UK, Japan, China, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.
Xerox will play an important role in South Africa by providing the X4112 high-speed printer that produces the book-block and by maintaining and servicing the EBM in South Africa. They will also be marketing the EBM throughout sub-Saharan Africa.