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Lightning Source to Fufill Book Titles for Espresso Book Machine

For some reason I think that an affordable print on demand machine like Espresso could be a huge boon for independent bookstores. One of the advantages of big box stores like Barnes and Noble is the huge variety. Independents can’t afford to stock as many books; don’t get as many discounts; and can’t sell the books at a large enough discount to compete. An affordable print on demand machine can eliminate many overhead costs that prevent an independent from being competitive.

Lightning Source will now provide 85,000 titles from 13 publishers for the Espresso Book Machine. These machines will be installed in about 15 locations “mostly bookstores and libraries, around the world, and can print a paperback book as quickly and richly as a veteran barista can whip up a latte.”

Via ShelfAwareness.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Randi
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 08:13:13

    I’m all over this idea, especially for ebooks. I don’t have any plans on hopping the ebook wagon-and there are ALL these great authors and stories that I’m not able to access. So…..if I were able to get ebooks printed-BOY HOWDY!!!

  2. MCHalliday
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 10:54:59

    The link went to Under Construction so I checked out PW. The article caused me to ponder the future of print books and bookstores, and they will change considerably.

    The Espresso Book Machines will reduce publishing and warehousing costs, eliminate the distributor (reducing costs), reduce the need for bookstore retail space and stop book returns (you print it, you keep it). All this means a lower price and easier access to 85,000 books but it will eventually impact on jobs in the printing, distribution and retail sectors when all titles become available through an EBM.

    Over the years, automation in many industries has eliminated less-than-desirable jobs while new technologies create employment with much better pay, but the Espresso POD has me wondering when the ‘trickle down effect’ might begin. In a time of global financial crisis, more jobs lost will be heavily felt and also result in less money for discretionary purchases, ie books.

    So, I’m left wondering if this a good time to introduce POD for customers while also feeling this is a wonderful step forward if one wishes to buy from the LS current list of ‘select publishers’.

  3. kirsten saell
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 11:04:17

    Well, there are contactual issues that might interfere with ebooks being turned into print via Espresso. If the epublisher doesn’t own the print rights, you still won’t be able to get it in print. And authors will have to be wary with their contracts, especially termination clauses and the definition of “out of print”, unless they want their original terms in place forever.

    However, I have this utopian vision of a bookstore with one “store copy” of every recently published book, for people to handle and leaf through before they decide to purchase. If you’re in a huge rush and can’t wait ten minutes for printing, just buy the store copy and they can print up a new one for the shelf. For classics and obscure titles, there could be catalogs like the ones for patterns that you find at fabric stores.

    Can you imagine? No book out of print unless the publisher or author wants it to be. Authors able to make royalties on books that are now only available as battered, used copies sold for huge prices on ebay. The long tail of epublishing now available for print as well…

  4. Randi
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 13:58:56

    Let me ask: if I buy an ebook and print it out at home-am I infringing on the author’s print rights?

    Kirsten: I’ll have an order of your utopia, please.

  5. DS
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 14:20:39

    Good way to monetize public domain books. I know I have paid high prices for gift book reprints of Public Domain books relating to my brother’s hobby.

    About the printing ebooks. It is possible prevent ebooks in certain formats (PDF?) from being printing. Usually the TOS of the seller or publisher gives you information about whether they allow you to print a copy for your own use. I think printing one copy for personal use ought to fall under Fair Use Doctrine myself.

  6. Self-Publishing Review
    Apr 18, 2009 @ 09:48:47

    Great info and a great development…your shelf-awareness link is a missing a “-“.

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