After scanning over two million titles for its online library, Google has now moved into print publishing and its catalogue will soon be available in physical form for the first time.
The company has agreed to provide its scanned texts to On Demand Books, the US-based publishing company that created the Espresso Book Machine – a high-speed automated book-making machine which prints and binds a single-copy paperback book with a full-colour cover.
The two million out-of-copyright titles scanned for Google Books will be added to the 1.6 million titles already available via the EBM. The machines are already up and running in bookshops and libraries including Blackwells in Charing Cross, London, the University of Alberta Bookstore in Edmonton, Canada, and Angus & Robertson Bookstore in Melbourne, Australia.
“ODB, in effect an ATM for books, will radically decentralise direct-to-consumer distribution,” said Jason Epstein, chairman and co-founder of ODB. “With the Google inventory the EBM will make it possible for readers everywhere to have access to millions of digital titles in multiple languages, including rare and out of print public domain titles.”
Harvard University and the University of Melbourne are both due to have EBMs installed soon.