Books-A-Million, the book chain based in Birmingham, AL, with stores throughout the south, will offer print-on-demand books using the Espresso Book Machine built by On Demand Books. The machine looks and functions like a large copy machine and can output any of thousands of titles as a perfect-bound book in just minutes.
BAM is trying it out at two of their primary locations as a joint marketing effort with ODB. Machines will be serviced by Xerox. Book content will come through the EspressNet system. There are many advantages to the concept of e-book meets print edition at a store, including the ability to offer far more titles and keeping costs down (no shipping or warehouse).
Pricing is based on length of the book. The machine can handle any paperback edition up to 600 pages long in sizes from 5x5 to 8x5 with a full-color cover. Major publishers involved include Penguin, Harper, McGraw Hill, Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. Hopefully this will help independent bookstores and publishers as well.