Sep 24, 2009

An ATM for Books

The two Google Guys are standing in front of what they call the Espresso Book Machine, which is designed to print and bind books from Google's wide collection of public domain works, so that the average person doesn't have to read it all on a computer screen.

According to the manufacturer:

This is what we call an ATM for books. It can make a library quality paperback book within minutes for under a penny a page. Imagine a reader going out onto a web site, clicking on one of the Google public domain titles, and within minutes the book is printed out.

PC World has more to say on the subject:

On Demand's deal with Google puts approximately two million public domain books from Google's digitized book collection--Google Books--into Espresso Book Machines, which you could then print off at your local library, bookstore, or coffee shop.

There's no official word on how much a single book will cost, but the Associated Press is reporting the average price will be about $8. Google and On Demand Books will each take a dollar from every transaction, and donate the rest of the proceeds to charity, the AP says.

What this is going to end up hurting is places like Barnes and Noble and Borders, which sell copies of, say, 'Pride and Prejudice' for 9.95 a pop from their respective company-owned publishers. The advance in technology may end up hurting big-chain bookstores, but I am interested to see where this kind of idea takes us, and what the future might yield.

Google Bringing Rare Books to Paperback
Google Books: Classic Books Available via the Espresso Book Machine

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