Behold the Espresso Book Machine!
Jason Epstein, veteran editor of such writers as Norman Mailer, Philip Roth and Gore Vidal, gave a series of lectures in 1999 in which he reflected on his experiences in publishing. Epstein mentioned in his speech that a future was possible in which customers would be able to print an out-of-stock title on the spot, if a book-printing machine could be made that would fit in a store. At the time, Jeff Marsh, a St Louis engineer and inventor, had already constructed a prototype book printer that could both photocopy and book-bind. A friend of Marsh, present on one of the lectures, informed Epstein. The editor together with Dane Neller, former President and CEO of Dean and Deluca, licensed Marsh’s invention and founded On Demand Books.
Jason Epstein is also the author of Book Business, which I’ve been meaning to read.