Books on Demand for Impatient Readers

The machine, which costs $175,000, is on track to pay for itself within six months. Blackwell's bookstore has been running it pretty much constantly and plans to expand to other shops across Britain. "Once the novelty factor dies down, the machine's still going to be running full time. The printed book isn't going to die off any time soon," Gipps said.

Inventions such as the Espresso, could be seen as an attempt by the publishing industry to keep up with electronic readers like the Amazon Kindle or Sony Corp.'s reader. However, according to the On Demand Books, the Espresso will make it possible for the printed page to move as rapidly as the electric page through manufacturing at the point of sale.

"Cybooks are no competition, e-content is also important, but people like the tactile experience of a book. More and more content owners will take control of their content in a digital form and then print it on the Espresso – digital storage can be used by the Espresso," Pate told ABC News.

Is the Espresso a Lifeline for Indie Booksellers?

After all, with its digitally saved inventory, the Espresso increases the number of books on the shop floor ten times. It could, in the future, be a lifeline for smaller or independent bookstores which struggle to compete with online retailers.

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