There is a really interesting article (with comments) on the TeleRead blog about the Espresso Book Machine. If you remember, UM purchased the Espresso back in October. This new article, written by Court Merrigan, focuses on the machine’s use in bookstores – store front or in one’s closet. It’s big in the UK, with plans to expand the 500,000 title Espresso offering even further if Blackwell can negotiate the rights to in-copyright books.
Merrigan ponders the future of bookstores, amazon, and the impact of POD to the eBook industry. Comments from publishers offer even more ideas and perspectives. One comment, from Michael Pastore, states “This machine could also be deployed in libraries, and help make some money for libraries, which are much in need right now. And independent bookstores might be looking at this machine reverently, as a mechanical messiah.”
You’ve probably read the news about the University of Michigan Press going digital only with most of their titles. They’ve decided to jump to the future business model ahead of many publishers, by going digital now, rather than later. I like their reasoning for the move. Phil Pochoda, Director of the UM Press was quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article to say “Why try to fight your way through this? Why try to remain in territory you know is doomed? Scholarly presses will be primarily digital in a decade. Why not seize the opportunity to do it now?”
Another reason for the decision was to increase the number of titles that UM Press could publish. With the cost of printing and distribution, only titles that would sell, sell, sell were printed. Publishing digital only means more titles from more scholars on more topics, not just those that fit the mainstream. I think that’s good for everyone.
UM Press can also utilize the new Espresso Book Machine acquired by the UM in 2008 (see NSR post). The print on demand (pod) machine has the ability to offer print versions of the digital titles for those who aren’t quite ready for the ebook world.
I read this article in LJ about another library digitization/print-on demand product. This time it’s with the University of Pennsylvania (UP) and Kirtas. UP is now part of the elite group of libraries providing print-on-demand services including University of Michigan, Emory, and Cornell.
The UP project will scan books in the public domain (200,000), but only when a title is requested by an end user. So, it’s kind of like the Patron Driven Acquisition ebook model, but now it’s being done in reverse. Take the print, digitize it, then print a copy on demand to ship to a user. Price information was not listed on the UP Press Release.
Springer announced it’s new pilot print on demand service – MyCopy – for “registered” patrons. The service allows a library’s registered patrons to order a softcover print copy of an ebook the library has ALREADY purchased. The copy is to be used by the patron for personal use. 11,000 titles are currently available, assuming your library owns all of those! Books are printed in black and white with a color softcover.
Publishing will never be the same folks. I hope Springer shares the title data with libraries. That could be a useful collection development tool.
I couldn’t help but think about this on the way home today….but wouldn’t this be the best way for students to buy cheap textbooks? Libraries subscribe to the ebooks of major textbook publishers and they all do print-on-demand for patrons at $24.95. Oh wait, we are talking about textbook publishers here, better make that $99.95!�
I was envious with McGill’s news, and now Michigan! Talk about rubbing salt on my wounds….
Seriously, this is fantastic news for UM Libraries. Their new “Espresso Book Machine,” – and it ain’t coffee folks - will print-on-demand titles from the UM digital collection. Public domain titles from the 2 million item collection will be the first shot for Espresso. Books will cost around $10.00, but must be picked up in person, as UM doesn’t plan on getting in the shipping business.
LJ News has a nice story. For more information on the Espresso, check out On Demand Books.
What a fabulous innovation from McGill University. They purchased a Kirtas APT BookScan 2400RA and will be digitizing rare materials from their collection to sell via print-on-demand. It’s fabulous to see a library embarking on a project like this, one that will bring income! Wow, the envy I have…..
For the full story see the press release.