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.
“The Good, the Bad, and the Sexy: Our Espresso Book Machine Experience” [Scholarly Kitchen]