Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lightning Source to use Espresso Book Machine to print books in stores and libraries

Lightning Source, the dominant Print-On-Demand printer, is launching an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) pilot program. Books will be printed at the point of sale -- primarily bookstores and libraries -- not at Lightning's own facilities.

The EBM was developed by On Demand Books and was named to Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2007” list. It provides revolutionary direct-to-consumer distribution and printing. The EBM is like a vending machine for books, but contains only raw materials, not completed products. It automatically prints, binds, and trims, on demand at point of sale, perfect-bound, library-quality paperback books.

These books, which have full color covers, are indistinguishable from other books sold in bookstores. A 300-page book can be produced in four minutes or less for a cost of consumables of a penny per page. “EspressNet,” the EBM’s proprietary and copyrighted software system, assures the security of publishers’ titles, automatically tracks all jobs, and remits all royalty payments. The EBM can produce a book of up to 830 pages.

Ultimately, the EBM will make it possible to distribute virtually every book ever published, in any language, anywhere on earth, easily, quickly, and inexpensively.

Participating publishers in the experiment include John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Clements Publishing, Cosimo, E-Reads, Bibliolife, Information Age Publishing, Macmillan, University of California Press and W.W. Norton.

The pilot will enable these publishers to enhance the availability of their titles at point-of-sale EBM locations. Approximately 85,000 titles from these publishers will be available for purchase at EBM locations in the USA this month.

Upon the completion of a successful pilot, other publishers that print and distribute books with Lightning Source will have the option to participate in the EBM channel. Complete channel automation is expected in the first half of this year, and rollout of the program to publishers globally is expected to follow shortly.

"We see the Espresso Book Machine as an innovative and exciting way for publishers to get their books out into the market,” said David Taylor, President of Lightning Source. “There is clearly a place for the in-store print on demand model in the emerging landscape of globally distributed print.”

Taylor continued, “Working with On Demand Books allows the many thousands of publishers with whom we already work the chance to get their books into this new distribution channel with minimal effort. In the times in which we are living, publishers need to be looking at every option to ensure that their books can be immediately available to people who want to buy them."

"Since the introduction of print on demand over a decade ago, I've dreamed of a day when the technology would be refined and reduced to in-store scale,” said Richard Curtis, President, E-Reads. “At last it's here and I'm overjoyed at this significant moment in the evolution of the book industry. Now you can visit a bookstore, order a book online, and pick your copy up after a leisurely cup of coffee."

"On Demand Books is delighted that the Espresso Book Machine is playing such a central role in a program that is blazing a trail to the future of book publishing,” said Dane Neller, CEO of OnDemand Books.

Neller continued, “With the book business facing dramatic changes and challenges, we believe the timing of the EBM couldn’t be better. Publishers, retailers and libraries alike see the appeal of the machine that collapses the supply chain, boosts backlist sales, matches supply with demand, eliminates returns and powers new, high growth sales channels for publishers.”

On Demand Books, proprietor of the Espresso Book Machine® (“EBM”), was founded in 2003 by its Chairman, Jason Epstein, who's been in publishing for nearly 60 years, and business executive Dane Neller, who was president and CEO of Dean & Deluca.

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