Automated book-making machines such as the Espresso Book Machine, or EBM, are opening up new avenues to authors looking to transform their manuscripts into printed, bound books in a quick and cost-effective manner. The University of Michigan Library owns the latest version of the EBM, and this revolutionary technology is available to anyone in the greater Ann Arbor area.

How Does The Self-publishing Service Work?

You will be required to sign a permissions letter releasing the Library from any copyright infringement liability in connection with printing your files. This includes both the text itself and any photos, illustrations, or other images, whether in the book block or on the cover. Please be sure you have obtained the appropriate permissions from the rights holders if you include other people’s content or images.

There is a one-time, non-refundable $30.00 set-up fee for the self-publishing service. Payment of this fee and your signed permissions letter are required before any file processing will begin. The fee can be paid by credit or debit card, at the circulation desk in the Shapiro library lobby. The set-up fee covers the following:
• Preliminary consultation and review of book block and cover PDFs for any obvious formatting issues
• Uploading (and storage, if desired) of files on the EBM
• One printed proof copy of your book

Further print copies are charged at regular EBM book prices, currently $8.00 for books 100 pages or less, $12.00 for 101-300 pages, $16.00 for 301-500 pages, $20.00 for 501-700 pages, and $25.00 for 700-800 pages. Orders will be paid for when you pick up the books. We offer quantity discounts of 10% off for orders between 21 and 100 copies, and 20% off for orders of 101+ copies.

Your Files
Files must be provided in “print-ready” form, which means all layout, editing, proofing, page numbering, and design work has been completed and the files are ready to be printed “as is”. [See links at the bottom of the page for guidelines and instructions.] Please contact to schedule an appointment with an EBM consultant if you wish to provide your files in person via usb drive, CD, or DVD. Otherwise, the files may be emailed to If desired, we will store your files on the machine for future purchases, but we will not make the title itself available for sale to the general public. Only you will be able to purchase copies of your book. You can request as many copies of your book as you would like, at any time.

Turnaround Time
The length of time it takes to produce your book or fill your order can vary depending on the amount of tweaking the files need, other projects in the print queue, and possible machine downtime. Generally, you should allow 2 – 3 business days from the time you submit your files to the time we have a printed proof ready for you. For subsequent orders, the larger the quantity desired (and the higher the page count), the more time you should allow for the books to be printed.


Requirements and Formatting Guidelines

Quick tips:
• Images and cover dpi should be 300
• Create PDFs that are PDF/X-1a:2001 compliant if possible
• Embed all fonts
• PDF book block page size should match your desired trim size (6" x 9", 5.5" x 8.5", etc. NOT 8.5" x 11")
• Do not include crop or trim marks on the book block or cover files

File formatting documentation* from On Demand Books (use your browser's "back" button to return to this page):

*We use white 20lb acid-free paper for our book interiors. When calculating your spine width, please use the following formula (rather than the one in the ODB documentation):

Page count x 0.002252" = spine width

So for a 150 page book, the spine would be 0.3378" wide:

150 x 0.002252" = 0.3378"

What We Don't Offer
• ISBNs (if you need an ISBN, please see information from Bowker, the official ISBN provider for the U.S., at Please note that an ISBN is not required in order to print books on the EBM.
• Editorial or design services such as copyediting, manuscript critique, proofreading, book layout, cover design, etc. Please consult with an editor, book designer, or cover designer if you need assistance in those areas.
• Marketing or distribution
• Cream colored paper
• Shipping; you must be local (or have a local contact you can coordinate with) in order to use the service.

For questions or more information, please contact

Page maintained by Terri A Geitgey
Last modified: 08/31/2015