I guess I’m a little late in hearing about this, but this sounds pretty cool. The Espresso Book Machine has now launched in London. There are also a few models located here in the U.S. According to an article at guardian.co.uk, here’s what it can do:
…the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launching today at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.
Signalling the end, says Blackwell, to the frustration of being told by a bookseller that a title is out of print, or not in stock, the Espresso offers access to almost half a million books, from a facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland to Mrs Beeton’s Book of Needlework. Blackwell hopes to increase this to over a million titles by the end of the summer – the equivalent of 23.6 miles of shelf space, or over 50 bookshops rolled into one. The majority of these books are currently out-of-copyright works, but Blackwell is working with publishers throughout the UK to increase access to in-copyright writings, and says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
I have a lot of books saved on my PC as PDFs, so it would be nice to take a few to one of these machines and have them printed out as a real book. I’ll keep an eye out for it as the weeks and months go by.