PDA

View Full Version : ATM for Books? Yes indeed. It's coming



Tika
04-21-2009, 05:05 AM
Lightning Source, an Ingram Content company announced on April 16th, 2009 that the new EBM (Espresso Book Machine) will be tested through a pilot program by a small group of publishers. Approximately 85,000 titles will be available in the U.S. in May of this year.

The EBM was named Best Invention in the Year in 2007 by Time Magazine. The machine was the brain child of Print on Demand and will be placed primarily in book stores and libraries. It literally prints, binds and trims paperback books. Silly people forgot grocery stores!

After the successful pilot program, Lightning Source publishers will have the opportunity to participate in the EBM channel. No cost was mentioned.

Talk about print-on-demand. I am blown away here. There was a link to read more if you're interested. http://www.ondemandbooks.com/home.htm

Tika :)

Saskatoonistan
04-21-2009, 05:13 AM
Very very cool... but what about prices?

dgiharris
04-21-2009, 05:15 AM
I can see this being huge in airports, hospitals, train stations, and pretty much any place where large groups of people have to sit around and wait for long periods of time.

This will severly impact Barnes and Nobles, Borders, etc. I would guess that once these book ATMs become commonplace, it will eat into 20% of B & N's sales

However, I do not see these Book ATMs becoming long term and doing well ten years from now.

Why? Well, wireless, Wi-Fi, and portable computers are becoming way to commonplace. Pretty soon, you will be able to download a book into your cell phone (some can do that now!). And also, with that new book format LCD stylus comming out, that will become popular over the next 5 years and then when they increase it's capabilities to plug into Wi-Fi networks it will be too easy to just download your favorite book

In short, I think the Book ATM will have a nice 10 year reign before technology makes it obsolete (like the pay phone).

Mel...

Saskatoonistan
04-21-2009, 05:16 AM
This will severly impact Barnes and Nobles, Borders, etc. I would guess that once these book ATMs become commonplace, it will eat into 20% of B & N's sales

Unless they slap one in your local B & N store. Could happen...

jennontheisland
04-21-2009, 05:18 AM
I'm seeing novelty that doesn't do well outside of Japan.

Saskatoonistan
04-21-2009, 05:19 AM
It won't do well if it costs $17.95 for an $8.95 paperback, that's for sure.

Cranky
04-21-2009, 05:26 AM
I'd be all OVER something like this, personally. *drools*

Matera the Mad
04-21-2009, 05:51 AM
I'll never see one.

benbradley
04-21-2009, 06:35 AM
Lightning Source, an Ingram Content company announced on April 16th, 2009 that the new EBM (Espresso Book Machine) will be tested through a pilot program by a small group of publishers. Approximately 85,000 titles will be available in the U.S. in May of this year.

The EBM was named Best Invention in the Year in 2007 by Time Magazine. The machine was the brain child of Print on Demand and will be placed primarily in book stores and libraries. It literally prints, binds and trims paperback books.
I've heard of such book-printing-and-binding machines off and on for at least ten years. I've seen pictures but I've never seen one or heard of one actually being installed somewhere. I don't know where they were, if there were prototypes or if there were just "product announcements" (in the personal computer world, such products are called vaporware). It's not that I doubt the technology exists and/or has existed for a while, but I wonder whether the market has been there to support it, if the costs and thus prices charged have been too high, or what.

Too bad they don't make press releases of product failures and why they failed. Apparently the people involved go into hiding with their tails between their legs.

But I've heard of such things (perhaps it was just POD in general) used for college textbooks, where the print run is relatively low and the demand isn't really known at the time of printing, so it's more cost effective to do POD. Not sure students would appreciate textbooks in a MMPB format, unless it saves substantial money over traditional textbooks, and publishers wouldn't go for that...

Silly people forgot grocery stores!
The probably can't make the machines fast enough to even think about supermarkets at the moment, and they have to stay in business long enough to make enough money to ramp up production. We'll see in a few years.

And with that name, this one better also pour me a free cup of coffee.

Tika
04-21-2009, 06:44 AM
Sorry Sas, I didn't see anything about pricing ------ not for publishers who participate or what the expected retail pricing of the books would be. Let's hope they keep them moderately priced. By the end of the year, they should be pretty common and we'll all know.

Yes! dgi. Airports, hospitals, and train stations should be biggies. Also, malls, convenience stores, college and high school campuses, hotels, etc. Doctor and dentist offices? Always a wait there! How about toll booths? lol. Pay your toll, buy a book. As far as the lifespan of these EBM's? Who knows. We live in a technical society, for sure.

Cranky? Please don't be drooling on the machine. It might short circuit. Wow, just think of the paper jamb!

Ben? No coffee for you. Books mister, books!

Anyway, we'll see what happens. I wanted to let you all know what I read. I thought it was quite interesting.

Happy writing :)
Tika

Claudia Gray
04-21-2009, 06:11 PM
It would be nice to be able to choose from a wide variety of books (particularly while traveling, as some have said), but I wouldn't write off the bookstore just yet. My biggest concern about this would be quality -- even some professionally made paperbacks fall apart too easily. And with the e-book gaining popularity, I can't really see anybody investing in wide distribution of these things right now.

DamaNegra
04-21-2009, 09:04 PM
The production cost is a penny a page. A 300 page book is printed and done within 4 minutes. I WANT THIS.

But obviously, it's going to take ages for this to reach Mexico. As always. Dammit.

Williebee
04-21-2009, 09:19 PM
the "down and dirty" market analysis might look something like this:

What is the low end (round number) age of the "I want paper in my hands" reader?

(Let's say 45 just for fun.)

How much of the market do they make up?

(15% work for you, for the purpose of this "guesstimation"?)

How long will they live, and actively read?

(Let's say 30 - 35 years. The actively read part is the real question.)

From there you get into the gray areas of numbers of up and coming readers who will be "traditionalists", the advancing e-reader appliance market, and the rising paper and energy costs.

But, if I can jam one of these machines out in a year's time, and make money on it each year, these things could be around for 20-30 years. That has the makings of a reasonable return on investment.

Now, here's an odd possibility --

If the major publishers were unlikely to want to share display space:

Think about the wall of soda machines just inside your local BigBoxMart. You could get these authors from that machine, but not those authors. And those authors from these machines....

hmmm

Cyia
04-21-2009, 09:26 PM
Imagine if they put in a "load your own" feature where Joe Author could fix a text file and cover file at home, walk down to B&N, pop in a flash drive and five minutes later have his very own book in his very own hands... bye-bye scam vanity publishers.

TheRightEyedDeer
04-21-2009, 09:29 PM
There's a list of EBM locations here:

http://www.ondemandbooks.com/our_ebm_locations.htm

Any AWers close by one of these new-fangled, sparkly things? Could you give one a try?

Toothpaste
04-21-2009, 10:38 PM
On the one hand this sounds awesome, on the other I just hate how this takes away the concept of browsing. I suppose in theory you could flip through different titles on screen, but I love standing at a shelf and then seeing something out of the corner of my eye and going over to that book to check it out. It's all about finding things you might not otherwise have looked at. We've become a society of "Watch what you want! Read the news you want!" But how do we know what we want if we never get the chance to stumble on something we didn't know existed? It's the same thing with computer dictionaries. It's all well and good if you are looking up the definition, but if you don't know how to spell the thing in the first place . . .

A lot of people talk about how the Kindle will revolutionise kids carrying books. But what I loved best about books when studying is that you could have five or six open all around you, easy access, to compare and contrast. You could see everything in one glance. With everything coming down to one screen, we lose that cross referencing ability.

I can imagine someday in the far future when everything is just on one screen, the concept of a book is going to be revolutionary. "You mean, I just pick it up and read it? I don't have to open any files?" "You mean this whole store is filled with pre-printed books? I just have to walk in and grab the one I like??"

Still, this machine definitely will serve a good purpose, but yeah, browsing. I'm going to miss that .. .

Williebee
04-21-2009, 11:59 PM
I can imagine someday in the far future when everything is just on one screen, the concept of a book is going to be revolutionary. "You mean, I just pick it up and read it? I don't have to open any files?" "You mean this whole store is filled with pre-printed books? I just have to walk in and grab the one I like??"

Yup. I can see this. In fact, when the time comes, that's probably where you'll find me, in a chair with some old masters.

Williebee
04-22-2009, 12:02 AM
I'm noting a lot of University Bookstores in the list. Nothing anywhere near me.

fringle
04-22-2009, 12:13 AM
So it's like the Big Red Box for movies, but for books?

benbradley
04-26-2009, 05:14 AM
I just found this slashdot article on this machine's "rollout" with a few more details:
http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/25/215218

Blackwell Launches Print-On-Demand Trial In the UK
Posted by kdawson on Saturday April 25, @07:14PM
from the watch-out-lulu dept.
[ Books ] [ Technology ]
krou writes "In Dec. 2006, we discussed the Espresso Book Machine. Well, on April 27 the bookseller Blackwell will launch a three month trial of the machine in its Charing Cross Road branch in London as a 'print on demand' service for shoppers in an effort 'to consign to history the idea that you can walk into a bookshop and not find the book you want.' When the trial begins, it will be able to print any of some 400,000 titles; Blackwell's overall goal is to extend this to a million titles by the summer, and to spread out more machines to the rest of its sixty stores once it works out pricing. Currently, they charge shelf price for in-print books, and 10 pence per page for those out of print (about $55 for a 300-page book), but are analyzing customer behavior to get a better pricing model. Says Blackwell chief executive Andrew Hutchings: 'This could change bookselling fundamentally. It's giving the chance for smaller locations, independent booksellers, to have the opportunity to truly compete with big stock-holding shops and Amazon... I like to think of it as the revitalization of the local bookshop industry.' Their website notes that in addition to getting books printed in-store, in future you will be able to order titles via their site. (They also mention that one of the titles you can print is the 1915 Oxford Poetry Book, which includes one of Tolkien's first poems, 'Goblin's Feet.')" You'll also be able to bring in your own book to print two PDF files, one for the book block and one for the cover.
The 2006 Slashdot story (http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/25/215218) has details on max number of pages and how long it takes to print-and-bind, and links to this CNN.COM story, "An ATM for Books." (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2006/12/01/8395114/index.htm?postversion=2006121409)

I also found an older AW thread:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82226

I wonder if there's a history of the announcements of such machines - as I said elsewhere I recall reading of such a machine announced as far back as 1996.

spike
04-26-2009, 05:33 AM
I think the problem with this is going to be the initial cost to the bookstore or other outlet.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1677329_1677980_1677970,00.html

Quotes the price of the machine at $50,000. How many books, priced competitively, would they need to sell to cover that cost? I couldn't find a reference of life span, but business machines are usually depreciated at 5 years. Have to sell a hell of a lot of books.

Greenify13
04-26-2009, 05:50 AM
So it's like the Big Red Box for movies, but for books?
That is exactly what I was thinking. :ROFL:

Williebee
04-26-2009, 06:08 AM
Man... if this thing takes off, people are going to kill a LOT of trees.

benbradley
04-26-2009, 08:07 AM
I think the problem with this is going to be the initial cost to the bookstore or other outlet.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1677329_1677980_1677970,00.html

Quotes the price of the machine at $50,000. How many books, priced competitively, would they need to sell to cover that cost? I couldn't find a reference of life span, but business machines are usually depreciated at 5 years. Have to sell a hell of a lot of books.
The earlier CNN article says:

The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers.
Hmm, reminds me of an Irving Wallace title...

Anyway, when printing at full speed that's an average of a book every 3 and a half minutes. In a high-volume location during 'prime time' there might be enough demand to support more than one machine. Regardless (and ignoring maintenance), I could imagine it paying for itself in a year or less.

Man... if this thing takes off, people are going to kill a LOT of trees.
I'm thinking it might actually SAVE trees over the standard publishing runs of 5,000 or so copies when MOST of the time some of those are sent back to the publisher as remainders. When someone buys a book from this machine, there's a known buyer instead of hoping there's a buyer for every book in a print run. But I'd want to see the quality of the books this thing spits out.

Another thing is (if successful) it could (further) damage the used and out-of-print book trade, which has already been decimated in the last decade because of online selling through sites such as Amazon (anyone with access to used books can become an Amazon seller...Anyone.)

Cyia
04-26-2009, 08:13 AM
I have this weird picture of these things having two versions of books, pre-edited like those machines that screen certain scenes from movies -- the unabridged and the "family friendly" versions for people who don't like swearing or graphic sex, or don't want their kids reading books with either of those for school assignments.

Press the red button, you get Catcher in the Rye. Press the blue button, you get the "clean" version ... that's 60 pages long.

Izz
04-26-2009, 08:27 AM
On the one hand this sounds awesome, on the other I just hate how this takes away the concept of browsing. I suppose in theory you could flip through different titles on screen, but I love standing at a shelf and then seeing something out of the corner of my eye and going over to that book to check it out. Yeah, that's generally how i shop for books. I only occasionally go into a bookstore with a book already in mind. I just love looking at covers and reading blurbs and flicking to random places in the book and reading a paragraph.

I can see the usefulness of this at, as has already been mentioned, airports, train stations, etc, but i'm not sure it'll get much past the university 'cutting-edge' appeal.

Christine N.
04-26-2009, 02:47 PM
I'm still banking on the ebook readers being bigger than this. The technology is advancing much faster these days, and Amazon's sold A LOT of units. They'll get cheaper the longer they're on the market, and like the CD and DVD player, the iPod and the cell phone, soon most people will have or want one.

I want one. I don't mind reading 'on screen', but my laptop's backlight causes eye strain. Kindle, Sony, Cybook - not backlit. Rather than look to buy a book in the airport, I can download one from the runway using Amazon's wi-fi. Don't even have to stand in line.

I don't think paper will ever go away - so maybe this machine will be useful for those few books I want in paper. I do like a nice collection of books by people I know.

raburrell
06-29-2009, 07:48 PM
Boston.com posted a video (http://www.boston.com/video/viral_page/?/services/player/bcpid6936117001&bclid=1213841049&bctid=26629490001) of the thing in action today. Still nothing I could find on the price of the books though.

(vid is 4:47 long)

Shadow_Ferret
06-29-2009, 07:50 PM
What a great idea! Lot better than a Kindle, in my mind. You get a book instantly and you can put it on your bookshelf when you're done.

William Haskins
06-29-2009, 07:58 PM
http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/06/mcnally_jacksons_coming_book_m.html

CaoPaux
06-29-2009, 08:39 PM
http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/06/mcnally_jacksons_coming_book_m.htmlFrom the above:
As of now, in addition to "millions" of public-domain books, the machine can only access about 175,000 backlist titles (you'd need to sell a couple thousand copies a year to make it worth your while)....which works out to 550 a day, yes? I.e., 23 an hour 24/7/365.

Medievalist
06-29-2009, 08:57 PM
Except--the books are sorta crappy, and priced like POD books always are; very expensive.

Alpha Echo
06-29-2009, 09:03 PM
There's a list of EBM locations here:

http://www.ondemandbooks.com/our_ebm_locations.htm

Any AWers close by one of these new-fangled, sparkly things? Could you give one a try?

I dont' know how I feel about this yet, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I'll have to make a trip to DC (about 40 minutes)

Talisman
06-30-2009, 01:22 AM
For those of you in the UK, Blackwells are currently giving the machine a trial in their Charing Cross store. I hear that it is doing very well, but have not been in to see it myself, as it is too much of a drag to get to London very often, and I am not a city person !

ChristineR
06-30-2009, 03:19 AM
There's a list of EBM locations here:

http://www.ondemandbooks.com/our_ebm_locations.htm

Any AWers close by one of these new-fangled, sparkly things? Could you give one a try?

There's one a short walk from me at the University of Michigan Library. I think they turn it on and run it for audiences a few times a week.

Do people really want me to go watch it?

Medievalist
06-30-2009, 04:11 AM
There are Expresso Book Machines at a lot of campuses.

It's pretty cool for things like readers for classes, but the books are not durable -- and unless you typeset the file and select the correct trim size, it's a raw dump.

benbradley
06-30-2009, 05:37 AM
From this year-old video of the earlier model machine (looks virtually the same), production costs are "a penny a page" (that seems pretty cheap to me!):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q946sfGLxm4
But I'm guessing that's just the raw cost of paper, toner and supplies for the machine, not the amortized cost of the machine, the floor space it takes up, nor what a retail outlet will charge over and above those costs. The retail price could be quite high until there's one of these in every major bookstore, copy shop and office supply store.

According to this radio interview in February, "there's only nine in the world, this is one of only two in Canada riight now..." (of these types of machines, or of that particular model, or what?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LosUoiyUToQ

Lots more videos with this youtube search:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=espresso+book

Salis
06-30-2009, 06:26 AM
Anyone ever think that "shareware" books might catch on?

Seems like e-books are getting bigger and bigger, and the one disadvantage to shopping online is that you rarely get an opportunity to really see what it's about, Amazon offers the "see the first few pages" thing, but that's pretty limited.

I could almost see people offering the first few chapters online as they're written (almost like a serialized thing) as a sort of preview, then if after 30~ pages you really like it, you could buy the full thing.

CACTUSWENDY
06-30-2009, 06:38 AM
According to the list....the U of A here in Tucson will have one this year at their bookstore. Interesting. I may have to check this out. I will let you know what I find.

ccv707
06-30-2009, 07:44 AM
This is probably the greatest idea since people started to slice bread loaves.