Librarian shares opinion of Espresso Book Machine after two years of using it

Here’s a librarian’s account of the Espresso Book Machine after two years of using it. It’s the best, most detailed real-world account I’ve come across—most things you’ll find online about this book-on-demand printing machine are either press releases or cursory reviews like my hands-on account last spring.

The tl;dr summary: it’s only fast if it’s warmed up and working properly; there’s lots of older content and public domain stuff in the database but not enough frontlist material being offered; the search interface sucks; publishers (and Google) need to take metadata more seriously, because it’s crucial for discoverability in an increasingly crowded marketplace; and the machine’s profit centers are blank journals and small print runs for a local organization, plus self-publishing one-offs.

Be sure to grab a drink and some popcorn and read the comments after the article, too. There are a couple of inflexible traditionalists who loathe the Espresso and everything they think it stands for, and they pull out every bad comment thread/discussion forum trick in the book short of referencing Hitler.

For the past five weeks, I’ve been running things over at Teleread while their editor took some time off. While posting there, I came across several items that I think are also of interest to readers of this blog. This is one of them.

“The Good, the Bad, and the Sexy: Our Espresso Book Machine Experience” [Scholarly Kitchen]
(Photo: sukisuki)

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