Espresso Book Machine--F.A.Q.

EBM Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this machine?
It's the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) and it prints paperback books on demand.

2. What kind of books can it print?
There are three main sources for the EBM's catalog:

  • Public Domain titles (1923 and earlier) *
  • LSI (Lightening Source) titles *
  • Self Published titles/projects

* Works that are in-copyright and out-of-print fall into a gray area and are usually not available. Also not all public domain or LSI titles are printable but many (about 8 million combined) are. New content is being added on a regular basis.

3. How much do the books cost?
Pubic Domain books run standard trade paperback prices $8.99-23.99
LSI title prices are set by the publisher and should be comparable to the shelf version.
Self Published works have a standard print cost of $5.00 + 4.5¢ per page per book *

* However we offer a wide range of editorial and design services a la carte along with some bulk discounts. It's best to suggest making an appointment or contacting the self-publishing consultant if someone has more questions about printing specs or what our editorial services cost.

4. What do the books look like?
The books printed on the EBM are virtually indistinguishable from those produced by traditional publishers. They range in size from 4.5 x 5” and 8.25 x 10.5” and can be anywhere from 40-800 pages in length. There are two types of interior papers (white and cream) and three cover-stock options (matte, semi-matte and satin). The interiors are B/W and the covers are full color.

5. When will color interiors be available?
Not any time soon. The cost of high speed color Xerox machines would make color interiors cost prohibitive at this time.

6. How many of these machines exist?
There are currently 80 EBM machines worldwide. 12 retail locations in the U.S. (all independent booksellers) and the rest are at a combination of universities and libraries. There are only 3 EBMs in California and BSSC's is the only in the Bay Area.

7. What's the advantage of the EBM?
By printing on demand, titles never need to go out-of-print/stock. Even if a title is not widely popular it can still be available to small audiences with out taking up a lot of warehouse space with physical books. The title sits as a .pdf file until someone comes along to buy a printed copy. It also eliminates the need to ship titles which saves time and fuel.

8. What types of things do people print on the EBM?
Past projects printed on the EBM have included: Novels and Short Story Collections Memoirs and Family Histories Plays and Literary Annuals Graphic Novels and Zines Cookbooks and User Manuals Thesis and Dissertations Legal and Real Estate Documents

9. How do I get my work printed on the EBM?
Make an appointment with the self-publishing consultant to look over your project and help you choose the appropriate printing options. Currently the hours customers can come and make an appointment are Tuesday-Saturday 10 – 6 pm. The can also email any questions to or call 831.460.3258

10. Can someone help me with putting my self-publishing project together?
Yes, along with printing projects we can help with all stages of production. Some of the services available include: Cover Design / Interior Formatting * Word Docs and PDF Conversions * Editorial Services – (proofreading, transcription) * Image Scanning and OCR Conversions * ISBN/Barcode Registration Copyright Registration * Prices vary on the design and formatting services depending on the complexity of the job. If a customer has more questions about the specifics of the services suggest making an appointment with the self-publishing consultant to discuss the scope of their project.

Other Services:
All titles are subject to availability. Prices subject to change. Please call 831-423-0900 to confirm.
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(831) 423-0900 · 1520 Pacific Ave · Downtown Santa Cruz · Santa Cruz, CA · 95060