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May 22, 2009

E-books: Made to Order?

Remember when ATMS’s came out? No bankers, no lines, just a machine that spit out money. We take that for granted now-easy access to our cash, but what about easy access to our books? Or e-books that is. As an e-book author, you must imagine my sheer joy at the press release over Lightning Source’s new beta program for the Espresso Book Machine.

The what? My first impression was of a big coffee machine churning out books. Take the cup of Joe out of that picture and it’s pretty darn close.

Lightning Source has announced a new technological wonder that make take the waste out of overstocked paperbacks and crowded bookshelves. Imagine walking into your favorite bookstore and ordering a drink and sticky bun, then moseying over to the EBM and printing out the most recent best seller.

The EBM is said to “print, bind, and trim perfect bound paperback books on-demand, at point of sale.” Now our literary future has the potential to truly go all-digital in the publishing world. We will be able to order a book online in print or electronic form, or take a trip to the store and have a print copy made to order. Like pizza. Only better.

What does that mean for authors like me? My work is available in electronic format with print to come. Options like the EBM means no waiting for readers and authors when the preferred method is paper and ink. Despite foregoing reading in electronic format in these cases, this print option will still save the environment. It will save money for publishing houses. It will save authors the headache of trying to please all of their fans in every which way (format).

Technology is a wonderful gift in this day and age. We have gone beyond making our lives easier; we have moved into making our entertainment easier. Trying to balance our lives at home is a constant battle. Finding ways to balance our free time and make the most of it is a gift. I think the EBM will be another wonderful blessing to help us do both!

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