Print Your Own Books in the Time it Takes to Make Coffee

"Read local, write local and now publish local," says Bookshop Santa Cruz Owner Casey Coonerty Protti, who has the area's first Espresso Book Machine.


It looks like the world's most lavish copy machine, but the new Espresso Book Machine, which will open July 11 at will change the publishing industry in Santa Cruz.

The machine, valued at around $100,000 is one of 80 in the world that can print an entire book, cover and all, in five minutes.

Bookshop owner Casey Coonerty Protti partnered with the New York company that sells the machines as a way to combat the increasing attacks on independent booksellers by Internet merchants.

"We've had to be enterprising," she says. "I like to say people can read local, write local and now publish local."

The machine is attracting all kinds of attention during practice runs before the formal July 11 opening. In five minutes it can print 300 pages that look like any other book in the store, with a glue-bound cover. (see video).

Protti thinks the market for the Espresso-made tomes will be people who want bound copies of some 8 million public domain books that Google has archived – but more importantly, will be a way for local authors to manufacture and sell their own books.

"We have so many local writers here and before they would have had to invest half their savings to print a book and see if it had a market," she says.

The price for a book is $5 down and four cents a page. That holds no matter how many you publish and you can publish as few as one.

That means, she says, that people may make gift books, print wedding invitations, make school texts or small-run biographies or bigger runs for conventions or groups.

Bookshop can sell the books and they can also be sold at the other places around the world that have the Espresso machines, including the New York Public Library, Abu Dhabi's National Library and the University of Michigan.

The machines are manufactured in the Midwest, says Espresso's in-house consultant Sylvie-Marie Drescher, who operates the one at Bookshop.

They also mean that a book store doesn't have to have as much shelf space. People can order their books off a list and have them printed on the spot.

Protti says that she got word of it from other independent booksellers who were having success. Over the years Bookshop Santa Cruz has been a trailblazer that has made national news.

In the 1970s, her father Neil got covered for selling Richard Nixon's autobiography by the pound, as if it were bologna.His was one of the first stores built a around a coffee shop that allowed people to sit and lounge and read and sip lattes in the 1970s, long before the trend spread nationally.

Last decade the shop was part of a documentary called "Indies Under Fire," as people in Santa Cruz sought to ban Borders books from town fearing that it would put the locals out of business.

Surprisingly to the protestors, Bookshop survived and Borders went out of business, sunk by competition from the Internet.

Protti has brought in famous authors, such as Jonathan Franzen,  weekly to meet readers and make the shop a real literary salon and keep the value in the printed word. She hopes this forward-thinking new addition will help her stave off online and E-book competition.

The opening party will be at 7 p.m. July 11, and according to the store's website:

"Bookshop will be holding a launch party with a discussion-panel focusing on self-publishing. Santa Cruz journalist (Sentinel writer, and past feature editor for the GoodTimes) Christa Martin will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about the best way to approach press and get their interest in your book—even reviewing it. Nici McCown, our consignment specialist at Bookshop, will use her book-seller’s perspective to discuss and answer questions of recommended ways to approach bookstores about carrying your book as well as additionally covering tips of how to use social media to spread the word about your new title.

"There will be a demonstration of printing various titles, seeing the self-publishing software, and added bonuses like giving away EBM gift cards, offering discounts off printing costs and consulting appointments, and even launching a name that Book Machine contest."


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »