If you’ve never heard of the Espresso machine … it’s about the size of a desk and can print a book in a few minutes. So, you see a book online, perhaps mentioned on Goodreads or a blog or on the best-seller list, and you want it. If your local bookstore has an Espresso machine, you go there and, hopefully, have it printed and ready to take home in minutes. I say, hopefully, because the particular book you want would need to be on their list of books they can print.
Publishers seem to be jumping on board with this idea. HarperCollilns is about to make 5,000 current paperbacks available via the Espresso. You might ask why other publishers wouldn’t follow suit since there are paperback and hard cover books not available in stores. (They often are not available because stores only have limited room to stock books, especially when big name authors can have twenty or fifty or even more copies of the same book.)
One leading publisher who asked not to be identified said his company is unlikely to make more titles available, in part because they are concerned that bookstores with the machines might then order fewer titles.This seems like shooting yourself in the foot to me. If there is always one copy for readers to look at, then that’s all you need. They can sell hundreds of copies without having to stock that many. Which means they can have a display copy of many, many more books, and they won’t have to pay to ship back the remaindered books.
You might wonder if POD books will cost more.
Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins, said that the paperbacks printed by Espresso will list for the same price as the traditional paperback version.I don’t know what the revenue split with authors would be. That would vary from publisher to publisher, I suspect, until some “standard” is figured out (even now that varies).
In most cases, HarperCollins will receive about 70% of the revenue from an Espresso-printed title, with the retailer taking 30%.What do you think about buying your paperbacks via a fast-printing machine? Do you think such a machine would make it a bit easier for local or lesser-known authors to get their books into the hands of readers? Is it a possible rescuer of the print book?