THE ESPRESSO BOOK MACHINE
Touted as an ATM for books, the Espresso Book Machine serves up paperbacks to order. Named one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2007, the EBM houses laser-printing, paper-slicing and book-binding mechanisms, and it’s networked with a digital database of more than 200,000 public-domain books—plus the ability to download your personal files. Nine experimental machines are operating worldwide (with just four in the United States), and parent company On Demand Books (ondemandbooks.com) alludes to the release of a commercial machine soon. With the EBM, you can have a freshly made 300-page book in hand in three minutes. Have an espresso while you wait.
Several new online communities are experimenting with an e-publishing model in the spirit of critique, collaboration and publication—in no particular order.
WEbook (webook.com) defines itself as an online book publishing company that “does for the industry what ‘American Idol’ did for music.” It offers opportunities for peer review at each user’s discretion. Then, users can submit their work for inclusion in periodic voting cycles. Projects are offered to the community for polling, and selections from the top 10 percent win the opportunity to “solidify a publishing plan” with WEbook.
Scribophile (scribophile.com) is designed primarily for peer critique. What’s unique about the format? Before you can post a work, you need to earn karma points by critiquing and rating the works of others. Scribophile acknowledges that by posting your work for the public, you’re publishing it, but also states, “Scribophile isn’t a publisher; we just want to make you the best writer you can be!” You can restrict your work to other members to help protect your rights.
BOOKS MADE TO ORDER
What if you just want to make a book for yourself, or a handful to give as gifts? Blurb (blurb.com) offers affordable services that yield professional-looking results.
Just download its free bookmaking software, design your own book using original text (and even photos) and choose your format: paperback or hardcover, black-and-white or full color, in small to coffee-table sizes. Finished books arrive at your door in days.