Track down rare books, print & bind them in minutes: Britain’s first book vending machine

Print and bind a 500-page novel in five minutes? A new device now in operation at London’s Blackwell bookshop let’s you do just that. Using a database of 400,000 titles, you can locate ‘rare’ books, hit ‘Print’ and in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette, your typeset, printed, and bound book drops down a chute. Clunk! According to the Telegraph‘s Matthew Moore, who describes the machine ‘spewing out’ hundreds of pages a minute, ‘the results were impressive. The hefty work that skidded out of the chute, while slightly sticky to the touch, looked and felt like a standard edition, even down to the correct ISBN number on the back. The paper and ink are the same quality used in larger presses, and the binding appeared flawless.’

Never have I heard of something that was spewed down a chute be described as flawless, but perhaps I don’t get out as much as I should. After a bit of digging, I have found a number of websites running the fawning, ecstatic headline ‘Now, a “book vending machine” that can print 540-page book in 9 mins!’ [1] [2] [3] etc, ad nauseam. In any event, you can read more about it here.

— Paul Razzell