Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Espresso Machines and eBooks

Ever heard of an Espresso Book Machine? It's basically a printing press that can fit inside a small library room, capable of printing any number of books on demand, right there, while you wait. A few years ago, they were looking like they were going to be the future of libraries or books in general. These days? The future isn't looking quite that certain.

They're amazing devices, don't get me wrong. I mean, just check out this awesome video:

So why am I not so keen on them anymore? For the same reason that Bluray players aren't sweeping the nation. More and more, digital is dominating physical. Why own something in print or on disc when you can just stream it or download it on demand? Sure, the picture quality is better, and there's something to be said for the "real"ness of a book, but there's no saying how long advantages like that will keep up. Streaming speeds will improve. Storage costs will plummet. Technology keeps surging ahead.

So it starts to look like an espresso machine--while incredible--just isn't necessary. Users can download a book for cheaper and more quickly than they can pay to print one. Which makes me kind of sad, because I really wanted to see an Espresso machine in action in person one day . . .

1 comment:

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