Saturday, October 10, 2009

Show & Tell

As some of you are aware, after the Donnelley plant trip I boarded a train and headed up to the Boston area for the weekend. While my host was at work, I explored a bit of the area on foot and ended up on the Harvard campus. I did in fact hike along Mass Ave to the Harvard Bookstore, where I saw the Paige M. Gutenborg (we so could have done better with the name!) POD machine at work, and got one of the $8 GoogleBooks titles made up. (It's neater in person than on the video.)

As I will be coming straight from Union Station to class on Monday night (I hope my train is on time!), I'll have a POD book with me if anyone's interested in taking a look at it. (I had to be a little careful with it on the way back to the T as the spine-glue hadn't totally hardened yet.) The cover is rather generic as they didn't have one archived for the particular book I got; I was told very clearly by the bookstore staff that "this is the one Google makes us put on, we want to design a nicer one!" :-)

I was rather surprised to see that Paige was fed by two commercial printers as opposed to having some sort of internal mechanism for that; I don't believe that was in the video that was posted a few weeks ago -- what essentially amounted to an actual copy machine fed the text-block pages into it (and what took the longest for my book was calling up the scanned files) and a Canon color printer fed the cover in on more durable stock.

I got to talk to the bookstore owner too (he was hovering over the machine since it's only been up a few weeks and there are still a few small glitches occasionally involving the cover somehow, but they've fortunately so far been rare) and he was discussing how as a bookstore owner he believes that eventually bookstores will be more like a showroom, and that machines like Paige will be standard issue for those that need actual books. (He also was interested in finding out that he had what I believe to be one of the few ones of these machines -- for instance in the DC area I think the only ones are the ones like Megan was mentioning that end up used almost as short-run presses for some nonprofits.)

While I was there, there was also someone telling a small group about the machine in French -- unsurprisingly, there's been quite a bit of interest in this machine!

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