A year ago (October, 2006) Todd Anderson, Director of the University of Alberta Bookstore, and I travelled to Boston to present a paper at The Fourth International Conference of the Book. Our paper, Competing With Free, discussed the trend towards using websites instead of textbooks in classes. Our paper surprised some of the people who attended our session, but what was most impressive about the conference was the presentation given by Jason Epstein. Epstein, a veteran of the book industry who also has a clear vision of a new future for it, is one of the people responsible for the development of OnDemand Books and the Espresso Book Machine. He talked about how the Espresso could produce a book, bound and trimmed, in as little as a minute, and how this technology can change the publishing industry.
Todd chatted with Jason after the presentation, and, as a result of that conversation, decided to buy an Espresso Book Machine for the University of Alberta Book Store. Todd's a man of vision and action: and today, one year and one week after hearing the story of this unique machine he saw the first books produced by the Espresso at the University of Alberta Bookstore. He and his staff were delighted with the results.
We at Spotted Cow Press are also very pleased that this machine – the most advanced Espresso unit manufactured thus far – is located at the U of A Bookstore. We are launching Twice in a Blue Moon: Poems by Joyce Harries on November 15, 2007, 7:00 PM at the Bookstore; books will be produced by the Espresso Book Machine during the launch. If you would like to attend please go to the Blue Moon page, download an invitation and notify us if you're coming so that we can make a name tag for you.
Joyce, an Edmonton poet and writer, will be reading from her book. She's very excited about seeing her book produced on site – the first trade book printed by the bookstore's Espresso machine.
I'll be writing more about the Espresso Book Machine and its potential. In the meantime, congratulations to Todd Anderson and the U of A Bookstore for seeing the potential of bringing this machine, the only one in Canada and one of just a few in the world, to Edmonton.