BAM had initially announced their plans in July 2013, and today they confirmed the news.
The Espresso Book Machine, which looks like an escapee from a university's engineering school, is the first digital-to-paper print on demand solution. It is capable of printing any book up to A4 in size and up to 600 pages in length. While older models are capable of printing a color cover to go with a black and white content, the new devices that will be installed in Books-a-Million will reportedly be able to print a full-color interior as well (or so the press release says).
BAM has long known that they can't stock all titles, and they see the EBM as a way to offer their customers an immediate option to get a book now rather than go home and order it on Amazon. "Through this process BAM customers can simply search online or in the store for that elusive title, and then leave the store with their perfect-bound paperback in less time than it takes to make and enjoy a caramel macchiato," said Mary Gallagher, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at Books-A-Million.
Customers will be able to choose from a catalog of over 7 million public domain and out of print titles, or they can print a book which they wrote. On Demand Books, the company that developed and maintains the EBM, has built up an extensive catalog of titles from a wide variety of publishers and distributors, including HarperCollins, Hachette, Random Penguin Solutions, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, W.W. Norton, and Simon & Schuster, as well as a titles available via Google Books and ones distributed by Ingram/LSI.
The customers can also avail themselves of a POD solution for indie authors. Trained EBM staffers will be on hand in each location to assist aspiring authors with file preparation and book design and are prepared to help them handle the technical aspects of publishing. Customers can print anything from memory books, art projects, or thesis pieces, to a keepsake of their grandmother’s cherished recipes, and authors publishing through the EBM can share their works through the international EBM sales channel.
There are around 70 Espresso Book machines installed in libraries, universities, and indie bookstores around the world, including one in Powell's Books, a chain based in and around Portland, Oregon. That bookseller installed the machine last year. It can be found in their flagship store, Powell's City of Books.