The printed book survives to fight another day.

Nearly buried under news about Google’s rights to distribute ebooks was a quiet announcement of a long awaited change to the book industry. The Times was one of a fairly small number of media sources that covered the trial installation of the Espresso Book Machine, a print on demand book vending machine.

Unveiled last week at the The London Book Fair, the EBM allows users to purchase a book from a catalog of approximately 400,000 titles. The machine prints and binds the book within minutes.

the Guttenberg printing press

The original book machine: Guttenberg printing press

Pricing for books printed by the Espresso Book Machine vary by the title, and reportedly offers authors the ability to print their own previously unpublished works.

Named in 2007 as one of The Best Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine, the EBM is finally seeing its potentials in the real world.

Some tout this as a possible rival to the Amazon Kindle. Whether or not the EBM meets success, it’s exciting to see the electronic age finally paying attention to the printed book

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