The Espresso Book Machine is a device about the size of an office photocopier, and it could easily fit into a local Borders bookstore, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, or at the local public library. Heck, someone could even install one at the local 7-11 store. You could walk up to the machine, insert a few dollars or a credit card, and then tell the device to print a book for you. It will print any book, as long as the book is available in a database. The Espresso Book Machine could print a genealogy book, or a novel, or the sheet music for Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 - Movement 2, or 17 recipes for shrimp gumbo, or a repair manual for your 1971 Ford Pinto.
This machine contains two standard laser printers, some electronics, and an Internet connection. It can produce a single 148-page book on demand in 8 minutes, from an order placed locally or via the Internet. Once you select the book you wish to purchase, the Book Machine retrieves the entire book from the company's servers and then prints the pages locally. The cover is printed separately; then it automatically gets glued to the book block, and the whole thing is trimmed before dropping out of the output slot.
The book could be in any language, with or without pictures, and the entire printing process runs without human intervention. The key thing about this product is that it is actually installed and working in a few premises on beta test.
You can watch a video of this machine producing a book at http://www.ondemandbooks.com/perfectbook.mov. (The machine in that movie is a prototype; the final product will look somewhat different when enclosed in a professional-looking cabinet, such as what is shown near the end of the movie. It should have essentially the same internal components as shown in the video.)
The developers, OnDemandBooks, claim that the Espresso Book Machine will cost less than $100,000 to buy, which will make it a very viable commercial proposition for libraries and many stores.
Tens of thousands of genealogy books are available in the public domain and could quickly be added to the database for Espresso Book Machines. Did you ever think that you might quickly purchase genealogy books at the local 7-11 store?
You can learn more about his interesting new device at http://www.ondemandbooks.com.