Think you’ve got a story in you? A memoire? A children’s book? Publishing your own book is just one of the many things you can do with the Espresso Book Machine. This revolutionary, Time magazine “invention of the year” and the only one of it’s kind in the region, is currently printing books at Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada. Located in the sparkling clocktower building on the corner of Foothill and Chevy Chase, it boasts a huge selection of books and gifts, has a lovely coffeehouse, lots of natural light and in the middle of all of this one might catch the whirring and buzzing of a book actually being created before your eyes!
The brainchild of American publisher Jason Epstein, the Espresso Book Machine has been hailed as the biggest change to the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. There is no end to what one can do with this machine and it has the potential to fundamentally change bookselling, especially for smaller bookstores. Could it signal the revitalization of the local bookshop industry? If you can walk into a local bookstore, publish your own book, get out of print or hard to find books and have access to over 3 million titles, that’s pretty compelling.
What is it exactly? The Espresso is a book-making machine that automatically prints, binds and trims books on demand. You can literally watch the inner workings of the machine as it creates your book, going from computer screen, to printing over 100 pages a minute, clamping them into place, binding them as the aroma of hot glue fills the air, then dramatically ‘guillotining’ down to size and popping out a brand new, warm(!) finished book. Hot off the presses! The quality is indisputable: clean, clear, justified text, thick paper and a gorgeous, matte color jacket. Imagine the thrill of holding your own work , a precious facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript, or an out of print treasured childhood book in your hands. From computer screen to an entire book printed and bound in less than 10 minutes. Even more impressive than the technology is the print-on-demand aspect itself: Books are made to order, which means no print overruns, which means no waste! For those who still love to hold a book in their hands, these books are economical and recyclable. Once you’ve done the initial $99 set up, you can come back and order more at any time and the books run from about $7-$18. (See the machine in action in our video section!)
Peter Wannier, owner of Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, says that what drew him to the machine was the idea that “despite what people may or may not think about a Mom and Pop bookstore, we can deliver books in people’s hands faster than you can possibly get online”. In fact, you can watch this extraordinary machine print out a library-quality, paperback book with a beautiful four-color cover that is indistinguishable from their factory made versions, in about the time it takes to have a cappuccino! With access to Lightening Source books, google books, Harper Collins and many more publishers who are releasing more and more of their titles, one has access to over 3.3 million titles and counting. To put it in perspective, Flintridge Bookstore averages about 30,000 titles in stock, so to have 3 million titles they would have to have about a hundred story building….”that’s what 3 million means”, says Wannier. And the list of titles is growing by the month.
Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Anything you can make into a pdf file, can be turned into a book. Already, Flintridge’s book machines has published everything from a yoga teacher’s book of her classes that she sells to students to a book of illustrations to books of poetry, personal memoirs and novels. Most technical manuals are no longer available in book form. People have come in to print out manuals for their digital cameras, businesses wanting to print their own instruction materials, a therapist printed a diary/logbook that he gives to his patients and a Girl Scout troop published their own novel. Another great opportunity is access to books in foreign languages and printing your own materials in another language.
If someone were, for example, to run a writing or poetry workshop, class could potentially end in having an anthology of their work printed and published. You even get your own ISBN number and all books are then made available through the On-Demand book system, all around the globe. It’s a wonderful opportunity for self-publishers. This is the kind of personal customization, in addition to the out of print and on demand titles, that Peter Wannier is excited to offer to his customers. As the only one of it’s kind in this part of Southern California, it is truly a unique gift to the community.
For information on how to get your project started contact email@example.com or just stop by and celebrate your love of books & coffee at Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse at 1010 Foothill Blvd. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.