Interesting new invention
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An article I found via the Disinformation Web site:
An ATM for books
Coming soon: The most inclusive reader's catalog in the world, at your fingertips.
By Emily Maltby, FSB Magazine
December 14 2006: 9:36 AM EST
(FSB Magazine) -- Buying a book could become as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February.
The company behind the Espresso is called On Demand Books, founded by legendary book editor Jason Epstein, 78, and Dane Neller, 56, but the technology was developed six years ago by Jeff Marsh, who is a technology advisor for New York City-based ODB (ondemandbooks.com).
The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. It prints in any language and will even accommodate right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right. The upper page limit is 550 pages, though by tweaking the page thickness and type size, you could get a copy of War and Peace (albeit tough to read) if you wanted.
See the next little things for 2007
Neller says that future versions of the machine will accommodate longer works with fewer hassles. Prices for the finished product will vary depending on locations, but the production cost is about a penny per page. (At right, FSB's interpretation.)
Some 2.5 million books are now available - about one million in English and no longer under copyright protection. On Demand accesses the volumes through Google and the Open Content Alliance, among other sources. Neller predicts that within about five years On Demand Books will be able to reproduce every volume ever printed.
Epstein says that the larger obstacles are consumer preference - the machine can't make you a latte - and convincing skeptics in the industry. But some early adopters are already sold on the idea.
Niko Pfund, a publisher at Oxford University Press, says the evolution away from traditional bookstores is only natural. "For hundreds of years the industry was unchanged," Pfund says. "Then audio came out. Now it's time for digital."
Would you use a vending machine to buy books? Please send feedback or column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is very interesting, but I wonder if it is true. I cannot find a link to a company called 'On Demand Books' anywhere. This story, however, can be googled from multiple sorces. Does anyone have a link to 'On Demand Books'?
But for myself, a reader primarily of nonfiction books, if this is true I think it is great. I have already bought print-on-demand copies of books that are out of print and, despite their bare-bones covers and bindings, have found them to be quite useful. They contain full text, index, bibliographies and their page numbers allegedly are in sync with the original edition. Obviously, the books I have are printed in the usual manner.
Another astounding thing about this article is the notion that the cost (which is not equal to price, they can charge anything they want) is 'about a penny per page'! Are the materials that make up the book to be created by the machine ex-nihilo? I can't imagine how that cost can be true!
I already save Project Gutenberg onto a CD-Rom, so, depending on the price, I'd get one for a cheap, temporary copy of a public domain work, but only if I knew what I wanted when standing in front of the machine. However, nothing will replace a good, high quality book for me. When it comes to things I'd keep on my shelves, I'll shell out a little more for a higher quality volume every time, even in paperback.
Here is a link to a link:
#2: I cannot find a link to a company called 'On Demand Books' anywhere.
You must be typing something wrong. The link is right in the story. Go to http://www.ondemandbooks.com. The site even contains a video of the machine actually producing books.
So, I'm a bit confused, is this for real, or some kind of a (sick) joke? It sounds awesome either way.
It seems to be for real. Thanks for the link artisan. I can't wait for this to be deployed!
Why do I always think of a good idea and then see it in the next six months?
Well it is good to see that some one decided to try it.
Ok, so after rereading the site, it sounds like the machine will originally be released in a form limited to uncopyrighted material, such as old turn of the century material (Peter Pan and Wendy, for example.) Am I reading this correctly, or is there something I'm missing?
bookishbunny #3 -- How do you "save Project Gutenberg onto a CD-ROM"? Do you mean you downloaded all the books to a CD?
Peter Pan is a bad example. Royalties are payable in perpetuity for all productions of and adapations of it.
Is the fact that the article was found via the Disinformation Website a clue that it may be a hoax? I could look and see I suppose, if I weren't so lazy.
I probably would make little use of such a machine unless I needed a book in a hurry.
I can see the machine being perfect for book groups. A book would be picked, printed, and then distributed to each member at a meeting for very little cost.
For inexpensive books, there's nothing I prefer more than used book stores. I also like browsing in antique shops. It's both fun and history.
For looking at new books, I'd prefer my local Barnes and Noble. Nothing beats the "sit and have coffee with your friends while looking at books and magazines". I'd have to buy a book every now and then, or how else would that store survive?
I'd continue to visit independent book stores. If they lost their customers, all of those stores would disappear, too (as they unfortunately seem to be doing now).
I'd *never* stop borrowing books from my library. I like to handle a book and look through it page by page (not on a computer screen) before checking it out. I definitely don't want libraries to disappear!
For me, it would be a simple addition to other ways of buying books (including trading and online).
I remember that, a few years ago near one of our McDonald's, we had a new machine that sold food. You put in money and took out whatyou wanted--fresh milk, eggs, bread, etc. I thought the idea was unique, but only used it once to try it out. It was okay, but I preferred my grocery store.
It will be interesting to see what really happens when this idea becomes fact and is readily available to the public. Whether or not this is a hoax now does nto really matter because it will, I'm sure, happen one day.
I had some other thoughts.
How would that affect the price of rare books? If you could print any book at any time, that would decrease the value of books that are hard to find or out of print.
How would authors respond? It seems that, although royalties would be respected, profits from such books would be way down since the cost to the consumer would be much less (e.g. using an example of a 300 page novel selling new for $14 but costing $3 by machine).
Perhaps the printing costs would be less, but the cost to the consumer would be the same? ($14 new vrs. $14 newly printed)
Re message 11: The Disinformation Website (www.disinfo.com) is actually a site that (in a charitable definition) tries to dispell the disinformation put out by "regular" news outlets ... some dross, some gold, definitely interesting for you/us conspiracy types ...
How would that affect the price of rare books
The value of rare books lies in more than just their text. It lies in the edition, the binding and a host of other factors. For example, despite the many available copies of the text, a first edition of Moby Dick sold earlier this year for nearly $75,000.
I don't think the rare book market has anything to worry about.
I usually associate the term 'CD' with audio. This is a shiny-disky-thing, as opposed to a floppy. I think CD-Rom is the right term, but I have embarrassed myself on more than one occasion with my technical misterms (my BF laughs at me me often and heartily).
Anyhoo, yes, I copy them onto the disk and leave it by my computer. It's just easier for me to access.
Agreed, the rare book market is an investment. The endless reproductions of a masterpiece (whether a book or an artwork) does not diminish the monetary value of the original. That will not change. But this would utterly destroy the scarce book market. I mean those books published primarily for universities and libraries. These books are 'rare' because the publisher might only do a run of a couple of hundred books and then (maybe!) five years later, do another run. It is those books that would be now available, thanks to this technology, as cheaply as a bestseller! Also, this machine could do books that publishers presently don't think it is worth time publishing because the market is so small. For instance, Walter Raleigh's 'History of the World' (there are several volumes to it) probably hasn't been fully published in almost a century. With this technology I could at last have a complete set cheaply. Of course, this copy would be worth almost nothing on the market, which is fine; I buy books to read and refer to, not as an investment.
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