First Espresso Book Machine Installed and Demonstrated at New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library

Share Article

An ATM for books that prints and binds any title on the spot within minutes from a digital file.

Printed books are one of history’s greatest and most enduring inventions, and after centuries, their form needs no improvement

The first Espresso Book Machine™ (“the EBM”) was installed and demonstrated today at the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry, and Business Library (SIBL). The patented automatic book making machine will revolutionize publishing by printing and delivering physical books within minutes. The EBM is a product of On Demand Books, LLC (“ODB” -, the company founded by legendary publishing executive Jason Epstein and business partner Dane Neller, who joined SIBL’s Kristin McDonough for a private event there to speak about the EBM’s potential impact on the future of reading and publishing.

The Espresso Book Machine will be available to the public at SIBL through August, and will operate Monday- Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library is located at 188 Madison Avenue (at 34th Street).

Library users will have the opportunity to print free copies of such public domain classics as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and “Songs of Innocence” by William Blake, as well as appropriately themed in-copyright titles as Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” and Jason Epstein’s own “Book Business.” The public domain titles were provided by the Open Content Alliance (“OCA”), a non-profit organization with a database of over 200,000 titles. The OCA and ODB are working closely to offer this digital content free of charge to libraries across the country. Both organizations have received partial funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The EBM, now available for sale to libraries and retailers, can potentially allow readers anywhere to obtain within minutes, almost any book title in any language, whether or not the book is in print. The EBM’s proprietary software transmits a digital file to the book machine, which automatically prints, binds, and trims the reader’s selection within minutes as a single, library-quality, paperback book, indistinguishable from the factory-made title.

Unlike existing print on demand technology, EBM’s are fully integrated, automatic machines that require minimal human intervention. They do not require a factory setting and are small enough to fit in a retail store or small library room. While traditional factory based print on demand machines usually cost over $1,000,000 per unit, the EBM is priced to be affordable for retailers and libraries.

The direct-to-consumer model of the EBM eliminates shipping and warehousing costs for books (thereby also eliminating returns and pulping of unsold books) and allows simultaneous global availability of millions of new and backlist titles in all categories and languages. These savings permit potentially lower prices to consumers and libraries, and greater royalties and profits to authors and publishers. Also, titles will never have to go out of print again.

“Printed books are one of history’s greatest and most enduring inventions, and after centuries, their form needs no improvement,” says Epstein. “What does need to change is the outdated way that books reach readers.”

"The Science, Industry and Business Library is delighted to showcase the Espresso Book Machine," said Kristin McDonough, Robert and Joyce Menschel Director of SIBL. "The Espresso provides a convenient new approach to book publishing and information dissemination and we are pleased to provide our users with the first opportunity to see this new technology demonstrated at a library whose mission is to support innovation and new business ventures." SIBL is the nation's largest public information center devoted solely to business and science; the 160,000 square-foot high-tech library in midtown Manhattan serves nearly half a million patrons annually and provides a large variety of services, including books, databases, business programming, the New York Small Business Resource Center website (, and exhibitions.

Additional EBM’s will be installed this fall at the New Orleans Public Library, the University of Alberta (Canada) campus bookstore, the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, and at the Open Content Alliance in San Francisco. Beta versions of the EBM are already in operation at the World Bank Infoshop in Washington, DC and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (The Library of Alexandria, Egypt). National book retailers and hotel chains are among the companies in talks with ODB about ordering EBM’s in quantity.

Jason Epstein, Cofounder of On Demand Books, is a former editorial director of Random House. He has received many honors for his long record of innovation in publishing including the Curtis Benjamin Award of the American Association of Publishers for inventing new kinds of publishing, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Book Critics Circle for creative publishing, and the National Book Award for distinguished contribution to American Letters.

Dane Neller, Cofounder of On Demand Books, served as President and CEO of Dean & Deluca from 1997-2005.

Thor Sigvaldason, Chief Technology Officer of On Demand Books. He was formerly head of an advanced technology group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

On Demand Books, LLC,
584 Broadway, Suite 1100, New York, NY 10012
(tel) 212 966-2222 (fax) 212-966-2229

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dane Neller

Email >
Visit website