Self-publishing took one more step into the physical world with the announcement by On Demand Books, “creators of the patented Espresso Book Machine® (“EBM”) technology,” of SelfEspress, “ODB’s new online self-publishing platform.” This system appears designed to offer an end-to-end self-publishing system for writers – which also incorporates physical on-demand printing of their book. The announcement reads:
From writing and design to printing and distribution, SelfEspress provides the self-published author with a user-friendly, do-it-yourself toolset, guiding the creator through every step of the publication process. Now book design, file creation and printing are easier than ever, and authors can also create eBook versions of their work in the process.
The On Demand Books website also includes a far more detailed breakdown of the platform’s capabilities, which appear, though, to be substantially developed “”for the Espresso Book Machine.” These include “powerful writing & cover creation tools that allow you to collaborate with people as you write, and turn your finished work into a professional looking paperback or ebook with just a few clicks of the mouse. You can use SelfEspress to create any type of book, from a personal family history to an epic novel, which you can choose to print only for yourself or make available for sale to others.”
The platform also appears design to integrate with EBM locations. “By streamlining the file creation process and linking directly with EBM locations, SelfEspress makes it easier than ever to create and order your very own book from your local EBM.” It also welcomes you to “place an order with the EBM location of your choice and have it shipped directly to you or pick it up in person.”
Plenty of other organizations and commentators have got behind the Espresso platform, including Barnes & Noble. On Demand Books lists a range of partners including HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan, and McGraw Hill. Will all that be enough to make this a realistic straight-to-physical alternative for self-publishers? We shall see.