Google Offers 2 Million Digital Book Titles for the Espresso Book Machine

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-09-17

Along with the controversy of its Google Book Search settlement, Google continues to wheel and deal with its Google Books service.

The search and Web services provider Sept. 17 agreed to provide 2 million non-copyrighted book titles for On Demand Books printing and cutting using its high-speed Espresso Book Machine.

The Espresso Book Machine is a book-printing machine that pumps out complete, professional-quality paperback books in 5 to 10 minutes. The machine, which book retailers, libraries, publishers and other interested parties may purchase for $75,000, rapidly prints, binds and trims a single paperback book with a full-color paperback cover.

Google Books titles offered via the Espresso Machine will have a recommended sales price of $8 per copy, though the price is subject to change by retailers. On Demand Books will get $1 of each sale, with another $1 going to Google, which will donate the proceeds to charities and other nonprofit causes, according to the Associated Press.

On Demand now gets to offer these 2 million titles on top of the 1.6 million books it already offers to consumers and to bookstores, libraries, universities and other retailers. The University of Michigan Shapiro Library Building, in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Blackwell Bookshop, in London, and the Bibliotheca Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, are running Espresso Book Machines. On Demand expects the Harvard Book Store, in Cambridge, Mass., to begin using the machines soon.

Through the agreement, Google gets a new vehicle with which to deliver its book titles to brick-and-mortar retailers instead of solely consumers online.

"We founded Google Books on the premise that anyone, anywhere, anytime should have the tools to explore the great works of history and culture," Google Books Product Manager Brandon Badger said in a blog post. "Reading digital books can be an enjoyable experience, but we realize that there are times when readers want a physical copy of a book."

However, On Demand may have access to sell more works if Google's Book Search deal with authors and publishers passes muster with the New York District Court in October.

This deal would grant Google unfettered access to digitize and offer out-of-print works to readers for fees. Several parties have come forward to proclaim support for and rail against the deal. The Justice Department is expected to weigh in with its concerns Sept. 18.

To celebrate the deal with Google, On Demand Books CEO Dane Neller demonstrated the Espresso Book Machine at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters Sept. 16. A demo video may be seen of the Espresso Book Machine printing, binding and covering a copy of a Google-scanned book here.

Read more about this Google Books deal on Techmeme.

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