Dick Hanscom forwarded this article for bibliophiles from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner about the Espresso Book Machine. Thanks!
With a flood of e-books entering the publishing world, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has purchased a device that combines a digital database with a traditional literary model.
The Espresso Book Machine looks like a mammoth photocopier, but it’s more like a high-tech literary vending machine. Users can pick from 3.3 million titles, which are converted on the spot into a bound paperback book.
EBM can crank out about 100 pages per minute, with a maximum book size of 500 pages. Once the pages are printed, a 350-degree glue binds it together between a cover. From beginning to end, the process takes 5 minutes or less, said the bookstore’s EBM communications manager, Kevin Lawson.
The UAF College of Rural and Community Development Bookstore is using the roughly $100,000 machine to create a new way to distribute books. Publications can vary from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “The Roots of Ticasuk,” with the occasional batch of course catalogs thrown in.
Having a machine than can produce a variety of books on the spot also brings some advantages, bookstore manager MaryAlice Short said. There’s no need to have a warehouse full of books waiting to be sold, and the shipping cost of sending those books to rural campuses in Alaska is less when they originate from Fairbanks. Short said she expects the EBM to pay for itself through those savings.
Short said the EBM machines are fairly common on Lower 48 campuses, but it’s the only such device in Alaska. Books typically cost between $10 and $20.
Lawson said it’s also helped with the preservation of Alaska Native books that are in danger of going out of print. A book from the Dillingham area, “Yup’ik Eskimo Orthography,” had only two remaining books before EBM was able to create about 100 more copies.
To read the complete article, see:
University of Alaska Fairbanks unveils book-making machine
Wayne Homren, Editor
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