By Judith Rosen -- Publishers Weekly - reprinted with permission
Xerox and On Demand Books, maker of the Espresso Book Machine, have teamed up to jointly market and sell the EBM with the Xerox 4112™ Copier/Printer worldwide. Under the new agreement, the 21 stores and libraries that already use the EBM will not be required to switch to the 4112, although as On Demand CEO Dane Neller points out, it is faster than the Quasar printer. The 4112 prints 110 pages per minute and can produce a 300-page book in less than four minutes.
By partnering with Xerox, On Demand will have access to a sales force for the first time and will make joint sales calls with Xerox, which will forward leads. “It’s been a long journey,” said Xerox publishing v-p John Conley, formerly with R.R. Donnelley, who has been in discussions with On Demand for a number of months. For him, the driver behind Xerox’s decision is that there is now enough content, some 3.3 million titles, to make EBM work. “On Demand does many things we can’t do,” he said, citing the EBM’s finisher and the EspressNet software. “But we have many, many skills that can make them more robust as you set a goal for worldwide capability. We think we can help make this incredibly significant. We like what it can do for the book distribution model.”
Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., which added its EBM “Paige” earlier this fall, tested the first 4112/EBM combination. But no new ones will likely be added during the first quarter of 2010 while Xerox and On Demand work out the details. However a phased roll out in the U.S. and Canada will take place starting at the end of the second quarter. Conley sees 2010 as an opportunity to study the stores and libraries that already have EBM before ramping up. “We’re going out the door and learning a lot of lessons,” he said. No date has been set yet for the launch worldwide.
The new arrangement doesn’t address the problem of affordability, although price point is one area that Xerox wants to monitor. Xerox will lease the 4112, but On Demand has no plans for direct leasing. “We hope over time, we can offer an umbrella leasing option,” said Neller, who notes that those who don’t want to purchase the EBM can lease it through third parties like banks.
Even with the added clout that the partnership with Xerox should bring, On Demand plans to continue to add machines slowly. Eleven mostly university-related stores and libraries will get EBM’s this quarter, including University Book Store in Seattle, NDSU Bookstore in Fargo, and North Carolina State Bookstores in Raleigh. According to Neller, the company is on track to have 80 machines in place by the end of 2011.