Last updated: 02-07-2012
This FAQ pertains to the University of Michigan Library’s new version of the EBM, sold and serviced by On Demand Books’ distribution partner, Xerox Corp.
Operation & Management
Q: Why do you have an EBM?
A: Having an Espresso Book Machine helps our users connect with content in the ways most useful to them. We are committed to providing free online access to as much of the Library’s content as is legally possible, both through our own scanning initiatives and large-scale digitization efforts such as the Google library project. Most of our digital content also resides in its original print form in our stacks, for normal check-out or interlibrary loan. But sometimes, the format that’s most desired or helpful is a printed copy that one can own outright. The EBM helps us maximize the reprint potential inherent in the thousands of digital files residing in our repository, in a quick and cost-effective way.
Q: What happened to your old machine? Why did you get a new one?
A: The new version replaces our previous beta version machine. We were limited to the quantity and quality of books we could produce on the version 1.5 machine, and were one of very few EBM locations still using the old version of the technology. By upgrading to the latest version, featuring the Xerox 4112 printer, we are able to print books much faster, with higher quality, higher page counts, local support, and less mechanical and printing issues. These advantages will allow us to expand the range of services offered and increase our production capabilities.
Q: Where is your machine located?
A: Our machine is located on the first floor of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, next to the TechDeck.
Q: Who runs the machine? How much training is needed?
A: We have a primary operator who is responsible for running the machine on a day-to-day basis. She has trained an additional part time person as a back-up operator. Xerox conducted a day-long training session when the machine was installed.
Q: How much maintenance time is required?
A: There is very little day-to-day maintenance that the operator must perform on the Xerox machine, perhaps totaling 15-20 minutes/week.
Q: Do you have a maintenance contract for the machine? Who makes repairs?
A: Xerox maintains and services both the 4112 book block printer and the EBM binder portion itself. Local Xerox service technicians can generally be on site within 2 – 4 hours.
Q: What problems have you encountered with the machine?
A: So far the only machine issues were a problem with the book block text printing at a slight skew, and a blown fuse, both of which the service technician corrected.
Q: Can people come by to see the machine in operation?
A: Yes. The machine is normally in operation M – F from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors are welcome to stop by during those hours to see the machine in use, or to purchase a title from the EBM catalog, or to place a request for a book not yet loaded. Book requests may also be submitted using the online request form. Demonstrations can also be arranged by appointment; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Q: Who actually manages the machine or is responsible for it?
A: The Library itself owns the machine, and staff from several units within the Library are responsible for various aspects of running the EBM and making policy decisions.
Q: How long have you had the machine?
A: We purchased the beta 1.5 version in June of 2008. At the end of December 2011, we upgraded to the version 2 machine serviced and sold by Xerox.
Q: How did you decide where to put it and who would run it?
A: The location was selected after reviewing the parameters needed to ensure that the machine would operate properly, and provide high visibility and accessibility. We selected a staff member who was experienced with photo-duplication and printer operation to run the machine.
Pricing & Ordering
Q: How long does it take to fill an order?
A: If a book is already prepped and loaded to the catalog, it can be printed in 5-7 minutes. If interior and cover PDFs need to be created for new titles, we ask that customers allow 1-3 business days for fulfillment. The actual delivery time depends upon many factors, including the quantity of books printed and number of requests already in the queue. We work to meet all delivery expectations.
Q: Where do I go to see all the titles available for printing?
A: There is no single comprehensive catalog of all titles that can be printed. See the Search for books link in the navigation menu for links to various EBM catalogs and file sources.
Q: If I want to buy a book, how does the order and payment process work?
A: If the book is in our local EBM catalog, you can stop by between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. M-F and have the book printed for you while you wait. If no one is at the machine, you can fill out one of the paper request forms at the desk and leave it for processing. If a book you’d like is not already prepped and in the catalog, you can use the online request form. You can also submit a request by emailing the book details (title, author, publication date, and the link to the online version, if possible) to email@example.com. When your book is ready, you’ll be notified. You can then stop by the circulation desk at the Shapiro library and pay the desk staff. They accept credit or debit cards, and are available to take payment during normal building hours. They will then retrieve the book for you.
Q: Do you have usage statistics for the machine? How many orders do you fill per week?
A:We don’t have usage statistics per se. The number of individual customer orders varies from week to week; it averages around 6-10 per week. We are also using the machine to print advance review copies of forthcoming titles issued by the University of Michigan Press, which amounts to fairly large print runs each month. We have also worked with various units on campus to produce items such as faculty-authored text books, departmental histories, student journals, and creative writing anthologies.
Q: What do you charge for books, and how did you determine your pricing?
A: Charges are based on page count:
100 pages or less - $8.00
101 – 300 pages - $12.00
301 – 500 pages - $16.00
501 – 700 pages - $20.00
701 – 800 pages - $25.00
The cost per book is based on direct operational expenses—-paper, toner, and other miscellaneous consumables, related salary, vendor expense, equipment costs and maintenance coverage.
Q: Can anyone buy books from the machine, or can it only be used by those affiliated with the University of Michigan?
A: You do not need to be affiliated with the University of Michigan in any way in order to purchase books from the machine. However, we are not currently shipping the books, so you need to be able to pick them up in person. For non-local customers, many of our public domain titles can be purchased on Amazon.com through the Library's separate Print on Demand (POD) service.
Printing & Content
Q: Who are your main customers? Mostly students or faculty?
A: The majority of our customers are members of the University of Michigan community, but we also complete orders for local residents.
Q: What types of books do people buy? What’s your most popular title?
A: Religion, science, exploration, and math are probably some of the most requested categories, although the subject matter of books that have sold on the EBM varies widely. That’s the beauty of print on demand, especially with an EBM—there’s no need to carry inventory, or try to forecast trends, or limit what’s offered. Thousands of already digitized titles are simply at the ready, if and when a customer comes along who wants a print copy.
Q: Can you print any kind of book, from any source?
A: There are several requirements for printing an item on the EBM: it must already be digitized, we must have legal access to the digital file, and we must either have a clear agreement with the rights holder to print copyright-protected works, or the content must be in the public domain. Physical constraints are that the file must be between 40 and 800 pages in length, with a final trim size greater than 4.5” x 4.5” but not more than 8.25” x 10.5”. The machine produces a softcover (perfectbound) book. It can print 4-color covers, but black and white interiors only.
Q: Can I print books that are available under a Creative Commons license?
A: Yes. The EBM can be used to print works that are made available under a Creative Commons (CC) license. Any of the 6 main licenses or the CC Zero Waiver are acceptable. All we ask is proof that the work is available under a specific CC license. This can normally be done via a URL where the author/publisher has made the choice clear or the work itself has the notice in its contents. We believe that printing CC-NC licensed books on the EBM abides by the “non-commercial” restriction since our book fees attempt to recover costs without seeking a profit.
Q: Can I print books that are available under a license that permits reuse?
A: Most likely, yes. In the majority of cases, if a book is available under some license that makes it explicit that republishing, copying, retransmitting, and/or printing is permitted, then that book can be printed on the EBM. The EBM staff will review the license (in consultation with the Copyright Office) to determine if it allows us to print the work for you. When submitting the work to be printed, please provide proof that the work is available under the license and a URL to the full text of the license.
Q: Are you printing Google books?
A: Yes, we are printing public domain books from several sources. This includes books from the Google digitization project, as well as items from our own digitization efforts such as the Making of America collection and from the Internet Archive’s Open Content Alliance. Google-scanned titles are also available via the machine’s networked “catalog of catalogs”, EspressNet.
Q: Will you be selling in-copyright titles from the EspressNet catalog?
A: We are considering the implications of selling the in-copyright titles in EspressNet. For now, we are limiting sales to the public domain items available in the networked catalog.
Q: Have you partnered with the local or university bookstores in any way?
A: We have not had any discussions with either the university bookstores or local bookstores, although we’re open to exploring ways the machine might prove mutually beneficial.
Q: If I wrote a book, or have other digital files I’d like printed, can you print those on the EBM for me?
A: Yes, provided you a) sign a permissions letter confirming that you either own the rights to the work or have received permission from the rights holder to print it, b) can provide us with a correctly formatted PDF file for the interior and a PDF file for the cover, and c) can pick up the printed book(s) in person. See the Self-publishing section for more details.
Q: Can the EBM be used to print course packs? What’s the relationship between the EBM and Reserves?
A: We cannot use the EBM to reproduce in-copyright materials without the explicit permission of the rights holder. If instructors have public domain materials or materials to which they own the rights and that they would like printed in book form, this is possible, within the usual constraints of the machine. If an instructor is putting a public domain book on reserve, we may be able to offer the alternative of a low-cost print copy for students.
Q: I’ve assigned an out-of-copyright work as part of my course reading list. How do I make EBM copies available for my students?
A: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org listing the title, author, publication date, and a link to the online version of the edition you’d like to use. We’ll confirm the details with you, and then prep and load the file to the EBM. If you’d like a specific quantity on hand for the start of the semester, let us know how many to print. Otherwise, once we’re ready, you can let students know they can purchase an EBM copy from our local catalog, and we’ll print copies on demand.
Q: I own the rights to a work that I want to use as course material in the upcoming semester. What do you need from me in order to make EBM copies available?
A: We'll need an interior book block PDF, a cover PDF, and a signed permissions form verifying that you are the rights holder and are giving us permission to print. We'll also need to know how many copies (if any) you'd like us to print up front, and the due date. We're happy to help guide you through the file formatting process; you can also refer to the instructions and guidelines in the Self-publishing section.
Q: How do I customize a public domain work to add my lecture notes, syllabus, or other material?
A: Your material will need to be formatted to match the trim size of the PDF of the public domain title. For instance, if the book's trim size is 6.5 x 9.5, and your notes, syllabus, or other materials are sized at 8.5 x 11, you'll need to reformat the page size and margins of your content to 6.5 x 9.5. Contact email@example.com with information about the title you wish to use (include a link to the online version or the catalog record for the item, if possible), and we will get back to you with the trim size. Reformat your content to match, then email it to us with instructions on where you'd like the new content to appear in the book. Staff in the Library's Knowledge Navigation Center on the 2nd floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library can provide assistance with file reformatting and PDF creation if needed. You'll also need to sign a permissions form attesting that you are the rights holder of the new content you're adding. Once the proof copy is approved, we can print copies in advance for your class, or we can print copies on demand as students request them.