Thursday, January 18, 2007

Get Books from an ATM?

An ATM for books
Coming soon: The most inclusive reader's catalog in the world, at your fingertips.

By Emily Maltby, FSB Magazine
December 14 2006: 9:36 AM EST

(FSB Magazine) -- Buying a book could become as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February.
The company behind the Espresso is called On Demand Books, founded by legendary book editor Jason Epstein, 78, and Dane Neller, 56, but the technology was developed six years ago by Jeff Marsh, who is a technology advisor for New York City-based ODB (

The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. It prints in any language and will even accommodate right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right. The upper page limit is 550 pages, though by tweaking the page thickness and type size, you could get a copy of War and Peace (albeit tough to read) if you wanted.

As a librarian, it is hard for me to imagine getting a book out of an ATM type machine. It does make me realize that print has not and doesn't seem to be doing away.