Earlier this week, the BookNet team took a field trip to Titles McMaster University Bookstore to check out their Espresso Book Machine (EBM). Mark Lefebvre, BNC Board member and our gracious host for the day, took us on a tour of Titles and gave us a live demo of the EBM (with some help from Laura the EBM magician).
Don’t know what an EBM is?
“The Espresso Book Machine is a fully integrated patented book making machine which can automatically print, bind and trim on demand at point of sale perfect bound library quality paperback books with 4-color cover indistinguishable from their factory made versions.” —On Demand Books
It really is as quick as they say. It only takes a few minutes from the time you select and order the book for you to have your shiny new POD book in your hands.
While I was hoping for something like this:
It actually looks like this:
But it manages to make books anyway. Success!
Now, it wouldn’t be a BNC Blog post if I didn’t remind you about how important metadata is. Hilarious moment of the day as described by Mark :
we selected a title from the catalog of just under 1 million titles to show them how we order from the EspressNet Catalog. We picked a public domain Google Book of Shakespeare—a “King Lear” search result that was listed as 120 pages. We figured it would be a nice short book that could be completed in about 3 minutes, as part of demonstrating the quickness of this process.
Of course, it took a unexpected longer time for the book to load to our system and start printing. And once it started, the print que was showing a gigantic page count, well behind 120. So we let it run it’s course and out came a 1000 page book.
The BNC folks, grinned at this and stated something they often say, and something I’m familiar with given my previous job role as data wrangler at Chapters/Indigo between 1999 and 2006.
“See,” Tom, the Bibliographic Manager at BNC said. “It all comes down to the quality of the metadata.”
The EBM has been a huge success for Titles. It has opened up new business opportunities that a university bookstore would normally not be able to tap into, and makes it so that millions of books are available at the click of a mouse.
Want your books to be available on the EBM? Comment below—I’m sure Mark would be happy to pass on some info.