Espresso plans African mission
18.12.08 | Philip Jones
Espresso Book Machines could be piloted in Africa, amid hopes that they will help solve the continent's intractable book distribution problems. US producer On Demand Books (ODB) has helped found a non-profit organisation, Books On Demand for Africa (BODA), headed by Dirk Koehler, former publisher of the World Bank. Novelists Toni Morrison and Uzodinma Iweala are also on the board.
BODA is undertaking an exploratory project researching the viability of three pilot centres in Africa for the Espresso Book Machine. South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have been identified as initial locations and the intention is for the first pilot to begin operating next July.
"The goal is to have hundreds and even more throughout Africa," said an ODB spokesperson. "Although ODB is a for-profit company we believe our technology can benefit the developing world, particularly Africa, where books and other educational resources are so sorely needed."
The Espresso Book Machine prints and binds paperback books on demand at point of sale, thus bypassing problems with difficult or costly book transport and storage.
In the UK, Blackwell has signed an agreement with ODA and is set to introduce the machine to its shops next year.