Espresso Book Machine

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The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is a print on demand (POD) machine that prints, collates, covers, and binds a single book in a few minutes.

The EBM is small enough to fit in a retail book store or small library room, and as such it is targeted at retail and library markets.[1] The EBM can potentially allow readers to obtain any book title, even books that are out of print. The machine takes as input a PDF file and prints, binds, and trims the reader’s selection as a paperback book.[2][3]


Jason Epstein gave a series of lectures in 1999 about his experiences in publishing. Epstein mentioned in his speech that a future was possible in which customers would be able to print an out-of-stock title on the spot, if a book-printing machine could be made that would fit in a store. He founded 3BillionBooks with Michael Smolens, a Long Island entrepreneur in Russia, and Thor Sigvaldason, a consultant at Price Waterhouse Coopers. At the time, Jeff Marsh, a St Louis engineer and inventor, had already constructed a prototype book printer that could both photocopy and bind. Marsh was working on this project for Harvey Ross, who held U.S. Patent 5,465,213.[4] Peter Zelchenko, a Chicago-based technologist and a partner of Ross in a related patent effort, worked with Marsh to prove the concept and also helped bring Marsh and other players together with several venture interests.[5] Ultimately Epstein, together with Dane Neller, former President and CEO of Dean and Deluca, licensed Marsh's invention and founded On Demand Books.[3][6]

The first Espresso Book Machine was installed and demonstrated June 21, 2007 at the New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library. For a month, the public was allowed to test the machine by printing free copies of public domain titles provided by the Open Content Alliance (OCA), a non-profit organization with a database of over 200,000 titles.[2]


The direct-to-consumer model supported by Espresso Book Machine eliminates the need for shipping, warehousing, returns and pulping of unsold books; it allows simultaneous global availability[3] of millions of new and backlist titles.

EBM books can also be made available for distribution through Lightning Source, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group.


As of July 2012, Espresso Book Machines are located in the following libraries, bookstores, and other retailers:[7][8][9]

Location City Country Type
Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn, NY USA Library
The Writer's Block Las Vegas, NV USA Bookstore
University of Melbourne Library Melbourne Australia Library
University of Michigan Library Ann Arbor, MI USA Library
University of Utah Library Salt Lake City, UT USA Library
Sacramento Public Library Sacramento, CA USA Library
Loudoun County Public Library Leesburg, VA USA Library
Bibliotheca Alexandrina Alexandria Egypt Library
New York University Abu Dhabi Library Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Library
Michigan State University Library East Lansing, MI USA Library
Riverside County Library System Temecula, CA USA Library
Juan Bosch Library Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Library
University of Prince Edward Island Library Charlottetown, PE Canada Library
Cornell University Bookstore Ithaca, NY USA University Bookstore
Kennesaw State University Bookstore Kennesaw, GA USA University Book Store
Lambton College Bookstore Sarnia, ON Canada University Book Store
Brigham Young University Bookstore Provo, UT USA University Bookstore
University of Arizona Bookstore Tucson, AZ USA University Bookstore
University of Missouri Bookstore Columbia, MO USA University Bookstore
University of Washington Bookstore Seattle, WA USA University Bookstore
North Dakota State University Bookstore Fargo, ND USA University Bookstore
North Carolina State University Bookstore Raleigh, NC USA University Bookstore
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL USA University Bookstore
University of Pittsburgh Bookstore Pittsburgh, PA USA University Bookstore
University of Texas Co-Op Bookstore Austin, TX USA University Bookstore
McMaster University Bookstore Hamilton, ON Canada University Bookstore
University of Waterloo Bookstore Waterloo, ON Canada University Bookstore
Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC Canada University Bookstore
University of Toronto Bookstore Toronto, ON Canada University Bookstore
University of Victoria Bookstore Victoria, BC Canada University Bookstore
Politics and Prose Washington DC USA Bookstore
Asian Development Bank Bookstore Manila Philippines Bookstore
Harvard Book Store Cambridge, MA USA Bookstore
Powell's Books Portland, OR USA Bookstore
McNally Robinson Winnipeg, MB Canada Bookstore
Northshire Bookstore Manchester Center, VT USA Bookstore
Chronicles of Crime Victoria, BC Canada Bookstore
Tattered Cover Denver, CO USA Bookstore
Schuler Books & Music Grand Rapids, MI USA Bookstore
Third Place Books Seattle, WA USA Bookstore
Boxcar and Caboose Bookshop Saint Johnsbury, VT USA Bookstore
McNally Jackson New York, NY USA Bookstore
Oscar's Art Books Vancouver, BC Canada Bookstore
Books Inn Miramichi, NB Canada Bookstore
Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse La Cañada Flintridge, CA USA Bookstore
American Book Center Amsterdam Netherlands Bookstore
Blackwell Bookstore London, England UK Bookstore
Books Sanseido Tokyo Japan Bookstore
China Publishing Group Beijing China Other retailer
DA Information Services Melbourne Australia Other retailer
Newsstand London, England UK Online Magazine retailer
Abu Dhabi National Library Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Library
Edmonton Public Library Edmonton, AB Canada Library


Beta versions of the EBM are placed at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.[2]

United States[edit]

Beta versions of the EBM are placed at the World Bank Infoshop in Washington, DC.[2] Additional EBMs were made available to the public in the fall of 2007 at the New Orleans Public Library, the Boxcar and Caboose Bookstore in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont and the Open Content Alliance in San Francisco.[2] Other locations include the University of Missouri, the Harvard Book Store, the University of Pittsburgh, the University Book Store in Seattle, Third Place Books in Seattle, the University of Michigan Shapiro Undergraduate Library, the University of Arizona Bookstore, the Brigham Young University Bookstore and the Grace Mellman Community Library (part of the Riverside County Library System, Riverside County, California).[10] Mizzou Media at the University of Missouri operates an Espresso Book Machine version 2.0.[11] There was a concession model of the Espresso Book Machine 2.2 located within the Darien Library in Darien, Connecticut, that was removed in August 2012.[12]


An EBM has been installed at the University of Alberta, Titles McMaster University Bookstore, University of Waterloo Bookstore,[13] McGill University Library (no longer in use) and the University of Toronto Bookstore.[14] Simon Fraser University Bookstore.[15] The University of Alberta closed its Espresso Book Machine in November 2013.[9] The Edmonton Public Library opened an Espresso Book Machine as part of the Makerspace in their Stanley A. Milner Library.[16]


In September 2008, was installed at Angus & Robertson in Melbourne, Australia by the Central Book Services / DA Group. However, its success was short-lived and the machine was removed in late 2009.[17] A newer version of the Espresso Book Machine (2.0) has now been installed at the University of Melbourne.


In September 2008, the first Espresso Book Machine was installed in the UK. Newsstand, a London based company, uses the machinery to print single copy book runs for publishers and authors.

In April 2009, an Espresso Book Machine was installed with great fanfare in the Charing Cross Road branch of Blackwell's book store in London. Blackwell's also announced that they plan to install the machine across their 60 UK stores.[18]


In November 2010 the American Book Center in Amsterdam installed the first ever Espresso Book Machine in the Netherlands and continental Europe. A second machine was installed in The American Book Center in The Hague in March 2011.


There is an Espresso Book Machine in the basement of Sanseido Publishing head office in Tokyo. A limited number of books from major publishers are available for printing. You cannot do full self publishing as is the case at some other EBM locations.[19] In April 2014, Sanseido and Amazon began printing on demand a selection of public domain books from the National Diet Library, but Sanseido is not offering these books to the general public.[20]


  1. ^ Overview of the report on "Future of Books" CQ Researcher Blog. May 29, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e "First Espresso Book Machine Installed and Demonstrated at New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library". PR Web. June 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  3. ^ a b c "End of the line for books?". The Sydney Morning Herald. October 4, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  4. ^ Ross, H.M. "System and Method of Manufacturing a Single Book Copy". U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Rose, M.J. (July 17, 2001). "Twelve-minute Book Delivery". Wired. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  6. ^ About ODB: History, Retrieved on 2009-06-03.
  7. ^ "EBM Locations: List View". Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  8. ^ Baine, Wallace. "Warm off the presses: Bookshop Santa Cruz unveils machine that prints books while you wait". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "University of Alberta Book Store". University of Alberta. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  10. ^ Singel, Ryan (2009-09-17). "Google Lets You Custom-Print Millions of Public Domain Books". Wired. 
  11. ^ About the Espresso Book Machine, Mizzou Media. University of Missouri. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Bookstore Print on Demand". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  14. ^ "Book POD". University of Toronto. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  15. ^ "Book-on-Demand". Simon Fraser University. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Edmonton Public Library makes space for tech-friendly creations". Free Daily News Group Inc. 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  17. ^ Angus & Robertson winds down POD book machine Print21. January 18, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  18. ^ Flood, Alison (April 24, 2009). "Blackwell's unveils Espresso Book Machine - any title printed while you wait". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  19. ^
  20. ^

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