Thursday, July 30, 2009

Espresso Book Machine: Latte, home

This has little to do with espresso. It has more to do with books. But I guess they are kind of related. Just as an espresso machine brews one cup at a time "espressly for one person", the EBM brews one book at a time. Their website also describes it as an "ATM for books", but ATMs don't print money, so the similarity falls flat right there. And people would be really pissed off if an ATM ever took this long. But still, watch:



Pretty cool. I think it could be the future. Imagine going to the orders window at Reader's Feast and them printing you the book they don't have in stock. Also, imagine a book shop which is more like a one-hour photo service meets Argos meets Kinkos. You walk in, swipe your card, enter the ISBN, go have an espresso, then come back and your book is ready.

Where the similarity between the EBM and the espresso coffee machine REALLY falls apart is in how important the skill of the operator is, and ease of assessment of the final product. Anyone can spot a badly-printed book, and nobody would have a problem going back in the door and pointing out the pages are upside down, or the last sentence of each page is missing. But returning a bad espresso? That is tricky.

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