September 17, 2009

On demand book printing

Filed under: Books, Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 12:17

Want a copy of a rare old out-of-print volume? For collectors and antiquarians, this is probably of lesser interest, but for researchers and readers, this is great news:

What’s hot off the presses come Thursday?

Any one of the more than 2 million books old enough to fall out of copyright into the public domain.

Over the last seven years, Google has scanned millions of dusty tomes from deep in the stacks of the nation’s leading university libraries and turned them into searchable documents available anywhere in the world through its search box.

And now Google Book Search, in partnership with On Demand Books, is letting readers turn those digital copies back into paper copies, individually printed by bookstores around the world.

Or at least by those booksellers that have ordered its $100,000 Espresso Book Machine, which cranks out a 300 page gray-scale book with a color cover in about 4 minutes, at a cost to the bookstore of about $3 for materials.

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