An ATM for Books. This is *exactly* what I think of when I hear the term “print-on-demand.”
This is the Espresso Book Machine, made by OnDemandBooks. According to Time Magazine, one of these sells for around $50K in US dollars. That is cheap cheap cheap as far as printing technology goes.
Most of the commercial printers that I’ve dealt with around town are trying to sell digital short-run printing as print-on-demand, simply because the turnaround time is shorter and the print runs can be smaller than traditional offset. But it’s still about a print run, and it’s still really expensive per copy if you are getting lower than about 200 units.
For government publishers to really take advantage of this machine, however, it would have to be capable of spitting out saddle-stitch booklets (bound with staples) and folded products (such as pamphlets and brochures). A lot of our print publishing is in these formats. Doesn’t look like this thing does that.
Update: The University of Alberta bookstore has one of these. I wonder if I could get travel expenses approved to go check it out?
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For the first time in a while, something to do with the printing and paper industry has caught my attention.
Canadian Geographic’s June 2008 issue (their annual environment issue) has been printed on paper with a significant amount of wheat straw in it.
It’s our message to magazine publishers and pulp-producers alike, that adding agricultural waste to pulp mix can offer farmers a new source of revenue and cut down on the demand of pulp from our boreal forests.
Neat. What’s old is new again — it wasn’t until the 20th century that paper began to be made from trees. It was generally made from stuff like this from antiquity to industrialization.
So how did this come about? Apparently Markets Initiative was a key driver (these are also the people behind the Ancient Forest Friendly papers initiative) — here’s the press release. Turns out that the magazine was printed by Dollco, based right here in Ottawa, on paper sourced from China (apparently no Canadian paper manufacturers can deal with straw in their plants yet). They’re calling the paper the “Wheat Sheet.”
This is a great improvement from yer basic paper stocks (most of which are about 80% or more wood fibre with the rest coming from recycled papers) from a sustainability standpoint. But the paper is not really a sheet made of wheat – while it’s 20% straw and 40% recycled content, it’s still 40% wood pulp. So there’s still a lot of trees in it. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.
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