Why bother? The machine, Mr. Neller said, is for the "far end of the back list," those books that are out of print or for which there is so little demand that it would be too costly to print a few hundred copies, let alone one.
With the machine, Mr. Neller said, anything available in a portable document format, or PDF, including Grandfather’s memoirs and Ph.D. dissertations, can be printed in minutes as long as a computer can read it.
This is all fine and dandy, but how many of those backlist items are available in PDF form? I doubt if Grandpa's memoirs are. I doubt if a long out-of-print copy of a favorite book from your youth would be available as a PDF! Who's going to put all the backlist items into PDF format?
"A rare book available only to scholars, let’s say, would now be available to anyone," Mr. Neller said. "Let’s say you want a book in Tagalog, a book in French or a book in Spanish. Think of the implications for universal knowledge!"The article failed to state how one might access these PDF files.
I'm not sure you'll see the Espresso Book Machine around here anytime soon. Inventing the Twentieth Century: 100 Inventions That Shaped the World: from the Airplane to the Zipper by Stephen Van Dulken [609 VAN] covers important inventions of the last century. When the 21st century is over, will the Espresso Book Machine be one of the inventions that shaped our world, or will it be one of those that appear in a book like Daniel H. Wilson's Where's My Jetpack? A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived [AB/CD 600 WIL].