by Eva van Loon
The Community Heritage Publishing Project Powell River center on the acquisition of an Espresso Book Machine (EBM), also known as “an ATM for books.” CHPPPR plans to raise $150,000 to purchase the machine by the end of the school year.
EBMs manufacture quality trade paperbacks in a few minutes each, just like books in bookstores. The EBM makes two kinds: up to three million books from its own catalogue, or any book plugged into it in PDF, provided it has a b/w interior and does not exceed certain sizes.
When a book is bought from the EBM catalogue, the royalty and profit due the publisher and author is automatically tracked back to them by the EBM. When a book is published locally through the EBM, the EBM owner can give the publisher a wholesale price on a flat fee per book, eliminating—for the first time in history—the economics of scale for the publisher.Local publishers can “permission” books through the EBM, connected to Ingram’s, the world’s biggest book distributor, thus achieving instant distribution wherever EBMs are located. As the EBM proliferates around the world, both the need to warehouse and ship books, and the habit of printing more books than actually needed, will dwindle—the EBM takes a giant step towards a green publishing industry. The difference between the cost of making a book on the EBM and the SRP (Suggested Retail Price) leaves enough room for a wholesale cost structure with levels to benefit non-profits, institutions, small presses and self-published entities. For the first time, local writers, families and organisations will have access to publishing real books for just a few hundred dollars, rather than the thousands now required by other publishing and manufacturing methods.