B.C.’s first Espresso Book Machine — a machine that can print a high-quality, 100-page book in five minutes — now resides at Oscar’s Art Books, an independent, arts-focused bookstore on West Broadway at Granville Street.
“All you need is two PDFs — one for the cover, one for the book — and we can print it,” store manager Barry Bechta said.
Stigmas surrounding self-publishing or “vanity publishing” are slowly fading as new technologies have made it easier, and sometimes more profitable, to take the non-traditional route to printing books.
Self-publishing was often viewed as a self-indulgence for those who wanted to see their names in print. People who can’t convince major publishers to print their books in large volumes have turned to the practice for years, Bechta said. However, as technology shakes up the traditional publishing business model, perceptions about self-publishing are changing. […]
The role of the traditional publisher is to get books into the marketplace, Maurer said. It involves a lot of behind-the-scenes distribution work that people often overlook when they decide to self-publish. “When people propose to self-publish, they’re not cutting out the editor and the publisher — they’re becoming the editor and the publisher.”
For those who do not have a built-in market to sell their books but still want to give self-publishing a try, the Espresso Book Machine is a less expensive option. Printing a book at Oscar’s costs $3 plus three cents per page, and an initial setup fee of $99. A 100-page book costs $5.99 to print. […]
Timing is another advantage of the new machine, which cost the bookstore $120,000. “We’re able to give someone a physical product in their hand in five minutes,” Bechta said. Traditional publishers can take much longer to deliver a book.
Production speed is what led Arsenal Pulp Press, a Vancouver-based independent publishing company, to use the machine at Oscar’s Art Books. The company uses the machine to print advance copies of books that will be released in the fall, Arsenal marketing director Janice Beley said. […]
Oscar’s Art Books is the first private bookstore to own the Espresso Book Machine in Canada. “We see a lot of bookstores going the way of the dodo,” store owner Sean O’Slynn said. “We decided to look at this as an opportunity to revitalize the store.”
Oscar’s Art Books has been in business for 21 years, despite competition from a Chapters outlet that opened across the street 12 years ago.