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Google To Allow Printing Of 2 Million Digital Books

September 17, 2009

Google on Thursday announced a deal that would put 2 million of its digital books back onto paper using a high-speed printing machine.

Google announced the partnership with the Espresso Book Machine, made by On Demand Books, which will give it access to about 2 million books from Google’s digital library.

The fast-paced printing machine can whip out a book of about 300 pages or less in about five minutes, according to the Associated Press.

Google said it would be offering up so-called public domain books, which were published before 1923, to be printed in paperback form.

The Espresso Book Machine is currently featured in over a dozen locations in the US, Canada, Australia, England and Egypt, the AP reports, adding that it could potentially get access to even more books if Google was to win a class-action settlement that would grant it the rights to sell out-of-print books.

“This is a seminal event for us,” said Dane Neller, chief executive of On Demand Books.

“In a matter of minutes you can get a paperback book identical to one you can get in a store.”

“Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain, Rousseau, Hugo, Balzac… you name it,” he said. “The beauty of this is that it goes from the classics to the obscure and in between.

“Yesterday we printed a book on leaves,” he said. “We printed a book on how to make candy from the early 20th century.”

“It’s like things are coming full circle,” Google spokeswoman Jennie Johnson said. “This will allow people to pick up the physical copy of a book even if there may be just one or two other copies in some library in this country, or maybe it’s not even available in this country at all.”

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