The Espresso Book Machine – named for the speed with which it can print a book – is designed to print and bind between 15 and 20 paperback books per hour (dependingon the length of the book). The machine is designed to allow the public on-demand access to a huge selection of literature in an array of languages. Users just walk up to the machine, select a book from the catalog, and wait a few minutes for their book to print. This machine basically means that an entire bookstore or library could be digitized and loaded into this machine for on-demand printing. Currently, the Espresso Book Machine is in testing at the World Bank Infoshop in Washington, D.C., and at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt.
What’s fascinating is how this machine challenges new portable devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. On Demand Books, the company behind the machine, is essentially betting that paperback formats will never be completely replaced by electronic formats. What do you think?