[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[BKARTS] Interesting article from the Boston Globe on books on demand
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: [BKARTS] Interesting article from the Boston Globe on books on demand
- From: Emily Marks <EMDandS@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 11:37:09 EDT
- Message-id: <email@example.com>
- Reply-to: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Machine downloads books from a massive database while the customer waits
Boston.com article page player in wide format.
By _D.C. Denison_
Globe Staff / June 29, 2009
* _Reprints_ (http://www.globereprints.com/) |
* _Yahoo! Buzz_
Text size – +
The Northshire Bookstore, in quaint Manchester Center, Vt., has all the
classic trappings: exposed beams, wood tables stacked with hardcover
bestsellers, comfortable leather chairs nestled into alcoves.
Discuss _COMMENTS (2)_
And then there’s “Lurch,’’ a hulking jumble of machinery that is often
groaning and shuddering in a corner behind the sales counter.
Officially known as the Espresso Book Machine, Lurch, as the employees call
it, is a “print on demand’’ setup the size of a meat freezer that creates
books for customers while they wait.
The publishing world is closely following the experiment at Northshire, the
first independent bookstore in the United States to install the clattering
book machine. If Northshire can make money printing books downloaded from
massive online catalogs, it will show how small brick-and-mortar bookshops
might be able to match the overwhelming variety of products offered by a
giant online retailer like _Amazon.com_ (http://amazon.com/) .
It could streamline the traditional book supply chain, with much less nee d
for space in warehouses, inventory on hand, shipping expenses, or
management of returns.
And no book ever has to go out of print.
Espresso’s print-on-demand technology could also change the dynamics of
large bookstore chains. On Demand Books, the New York company that produces
the book machine, has just launched a pilot program with a distributor,
making 85,000 book titles from major publishers like Simon & Schuster and
_McGraw-Hill_ (http://finance.boston.com/boston?Page=QUOTE&Ticker=MHP) available
to Espresso machines.
Espresso machines can also access thousands of titles that are in the
public domain and available on the Internet.
To a publishing analyst like Brian F. O’Leary, a principal at Magellan
Media Consulting Partners in New York, the deal between the machine’s makers
and such big publishers “shows that the traditional book business is at least
willing to test-drive the Espresso.’’
The next question is whether the big book retailers will adopt the
“Chain stores have always been part of the business plan,’’ said Lauren
Parker, a spokeswoman for On Demand Books, though she declined to name20any
chains. The company is “planning for dramatic growth in 2009,’’ she added.
Spokesmen for the giant chains Borders and Barnes & Nobles were aware of
the Espresso, but declined to comment on whether they were considering
placing the machine in any stores.
But Lurch already looks like a success at Northshire.
“This has added an entirely new element to the bookstore,’’ manager Chris
Morrow said as the machine churned out a novel written by a local author.
When the machine is connected to an expanded online catalog of titles later
this year, Morrow said, the bookstore will be able to offer customers an “
ATM for books’’ that will provide access to millions of works.
“The idea is that soon we’ll be able to print out any book that’s ever
been printed,’’ he said. “That could really change people’s image of the
The Espresso Book Machine comes with a publishing industry pedigree. Jason
Epstein, who cofounded On Demand Books in 2003, is the former editorial
director of Random House in New York. Epstein’s vision was a fully automatic,
low-cost device that could be placed in a neighborhood bookshop, coffee
shop, newsstand, library, hotel, even aboard a cruise ship or in airports.
Northshire took delivery of its unit last year. Other first-generation
machines went to college bookstores, like the one at the University of Alberta,
and libraries, including the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and the
University of Michigan Library in Ann _Arbor_
(http://finance.boston.com/boston?Page=QUOTE&Ticker=ARBR) , Mich. The newest version of the Espresso, about
half the size of the one in Northshire, costs between $79,000 and $95,000 and
is available for lease for between $1,250 and $1,650 a month.
Northshire wanted the new machine to connect the store’s customers to
millions of book titles. That part of the business has developed slowly, as On
Demand Books works to develop partnerships with publishers. Morrow expects
millions of books to be available by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Northshire discovered that the machine’s ability to print
original books in very small numbers was attracting a lively customer base of
local authors. “Self-publishing was a plus we didn’t expect,’’ said Annette
Rodefeld, Northshire’s print-on-demand coordinator.
In its first year, Northshire’s book=2 0machine printed dozens of original
books by customers, including memoirs, autobiographies, poetry collections,
and cookbooks, usually producing from 30 to 50 copies of each. The
bookstore also published a young adult novel written by a local 12-year-old and a
previously out-of-print guide to Manchester.
Self-publishers pay a $49 setup fee and a per-page rate that ranges from 5
to 9 cents, depending on the length. Northshire provides an a la carte menu
of editorial and design services from a network of providers. Copy editing
costs 1 cent per word; book design services, $40 an hour.
“Since it’s taken us longer than we expected to get publishers to share
their catalog, the self-publishing businesses has taken up the slack,’’ said
Dane Neller, chief executive at On Demand Books.
In September, Michael Cohen, a rabbi, printed 50 copies of his novella “
Einstein’s Rabbi’’ at Northshire. Reaction was so good he revised the book
and printed an additional 300.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,’’ he said. Cohen is now selling his
book on _Amazon.com_
(http://finance.boston.com/boston?Page=QUOTE&Ticker=AMZN) and on Northshire’s website.
Rodefeld, a for mer graphic designer who works at a tiny desk next to the
Espresso machine, produces up to 35 books a day. “It’s exciting to see an
author’s face when I hand them the first book off the press,’’ she said. “
To see the dream, the fantasy, become a reality - that really tickles me. I
get to be Santa Claus all the time here.’’
The Espresso also comes just as electronic book readers, like _Amazon.com_
(http://amazon.com/) ’s Kindle, seem on the brink of mass market
acceptance. But Morrow thinks that won’t be a serious challenge to the paper products
of the Espresso.
“E-books are about 1 percent of the market right now,’’ he said. “Maybe
they’ll get to 10 percent in the next few years. That still leaves 90
percent of the market in paper. And print-on-demand will give independent
bookstores a bigger slice of that very big pie.’’
“The Kindle is hot,’’ agreed O’Leary, “but e-books will be a small
segment of the publishing industry for the foreseeable future. Print-on-demand,
on the other hand, is growing. Because of digitization by Google and others,
more and more books are becoming available every day. A lot of those books
are going to come back to life as print-on-demand.0’
Last month, Morrow was invited to give a talk on his print-on-demand
experience at BookExpo America, the publishing industry’s annual conference in
New York. There was great interest in the machine from other independent
booksellers, he said, but “it all depends if the numbers can work out for an
The numbers at Northshire Bookstore, Morrow said, are “on the cusp’’ of
working out. The big payoff will come, he said, when the Espresso machine is
seamlessly connected to the entire universe of books, allowing the store to
fulfill any request in minutes.
“It’s been great for building community,’’ he said.
Asked if he foresees a day when every bookstore will have an Espresso
machine, Morrow paused.
“Maybe not every bookstore,’’ he replied. “But every smart bookstore.’’
D.C. Denison can be reached at _denison@xxxxxxxxxx
© Copyright 2009 Globe New spaper Company
**************It's raining cats and dogs -- Come to PawNation, a place
where pets rule! (http://www.pawnation.com/?ncid=emlcntnew00000008)
Pre-order your GBW "Marking Time" exhibition catalog before August 1, 2009
to save $5 off the $35 regular price. For more information see:
NOW ONLINE, Volume 5, No. 2, Spring 2009 of The Bonefolder
For all your subscription questions, go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.