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Book Printing Kiosk Adds Google Books Titles

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

Google and On Demand Books have reportedly struck up a deal that will allow readers to print their own copies of rare, out of print titles.

On Demand Books is the company responsible for Esspresso Book Machines, kiosks that allow you to print "library quality" books in approximately five minutes. If there is any truth to the deal, readers will soon be able to walk into any store that has an Esspresso Book Machine and print any of the millions of books available through Google online. For just $8 the machine will churn out a single book at a rate of 145 pages per minute.

Google has already scanned and digitized millions of out of print books, and a deal like this could bring these books back into print for those who just can't stand reading ebooks on a screen. CNet reports that On Demand Books brought one of their machines to Google's Mountain View HQ earlier this week to show Googlers how it all works.

If you're wondering how the aforementioned $8 is divided, word has it Google keeps $1, On Demand keeps $1, $3 goes towards manufacturing and labor and the last $3 goes to the store where you printed the book. Given that the machines can cost between $75,000 and $97,000 depending on configuration, it's easy to see why there aren't more in the world. Most of them currently reside in universities or libraries.

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Image credit: CNet News

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  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , September 18, 2009 5:47 PM
    Never heard of such a thing. I'd be surprised if they can actually make any money.

    That said, if I print out a book from this kiosk, will the government come hunting me down after they outlaw the Google and Authors Guild book deal?
  • 3 Hide
    domenic , September 18, 2009 6:18 PM
    wow! That a great idea. All (paper) books should be sold this way.
  • 0 Hide
    endif , September 18, 2009 6:35 PM
    This sounds like a great idea, I will agree with that. My only concerns are that this will start to decrease the amount of money authors are getting for their books. Also it sounds like a HUGE waste of paper. Make the kiosk support devices like the kindle.
  • 0 Hide
    nottheking , September 18, 2009 7:33 PM
    Well, according to the article's "rumors," it'd take a machine being used 25,000-32,000 or so times before it manages to pay for itself, at $3 per book. And at an estimated 5 minutes per book, that means that the machine would have to be constantly printing for around a quarter-year non-stop, without any delays, break-downs, or merely people not using it (such as the building being closed) in order to make that.

    As a result, I have my doubts if it'd actually turn a profit; it's a very nice idea to think of, though; many of us simply don't like reading off of a screen, or reading off of e-paper; physical books are more comfortable and easier to read.

    Of course, I'd also question their definition of "library quality;" given the brief time to print it all, I wonder what form of inks are being used, as well as the quality of the paper involved. Perhaps mostly, I question what durability the binding will be; since all the books are "printed on-demand," that means the machine is going to have to automate and adjust to binding a different number of pages each time, which could yield problems. (normal book printing involves precise, human-adjusted setting of the binding machines, that won't vary since it'll print a LOT of just one book)
  • 1 Hide
    domenic , September 18, 2009 8:01 PM
    I think it would save paper (and trees) if it would replace hard cover books, non-recycled paper, and coated paper we see in bookstores everywhere.
  • 0 Hide
    mcnuggetofdeath , September 18, 2009 11:37 PM
  • 0 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 19, 2009 9:44 AM
    This seems good.But the trees are better.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 20, 2009 1:35 AM
    Um... if anything, the machine would SAVE paper, when compared to current methods. You'd only have those books printed that you end up reading, instead of printing an issue thousands of times as is done right now. Seems like a step forwards to me.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , September 20, 2009 4:37 AM
    Could this mean the end of bookstores?