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Espresso Book Machine Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Espresso Book Machine?
The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is an automated, print-on-demand book making machine. It downloads, prints, binds and trims perfect bound paperback books with full-color covers. These books are virtually indistinguishable from paperback books found in a bookstore or library. The machine's transparent casing allows customers to watch as books are produced, from start to finish, in a matter of minutes.

Where is the machine made?
The machines are manufactured in the United States. For more information, please visit

Can I come to the store to watch the EBM in action?
Yes. However, the machine is not always operating and takes 45 minutes to reach binding temperature. If you are interested in watching your book being printed or watching a demonstration, please let us know. To arrange an appointment, please submit your request to

What kind of books can I print on the EBM?
We can print any titles from EspressNet, the EBM's continuously expanding network, which currently carries millions of titles. These titles include both public domain Google Books and in-copyright texts from many publishers. We can also print public domain titles from other sources, such as Lastly, we can print digitized, self-published works. The author must own all copyrights and/or hold a clear agreement with the rights holder.

Where do I go to see all the titles available for printing?
To browse for books please visit the Print on Demand page and use the Espresso Book Search feature.

Can the EBM print different sizes?
Yes. The book's trim size can be anywhere between 4.5" x 5" and 8.25" x 10.75" (in 1/8" increments). The book's length can be between 40 and 830 pages.

Can the EBM produce hardcover books?
The EBM can only produce perfect-bound paperback books. However, our books are very hardy. We use archival quality 60lb acid-free paper for the interior pages and 100lb cardstock for the covers.

Can the EBM print full-color books?
Yes. We can now print full color interiors for $0.40/PDF page. Ask for details.

Can anyone buy books from the EBM or only those affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh?
Anyone may purchase on demand books. It is part of our mission to make the EBM an economical and valuable resource to both the university community and Pittsburgh at large. If you are a non local customer, we are happy to ship your order to you.

If I want to buy a book, how does the order process work? How long does it take to fulfill orders?
For public domain texts and EspressNet inquiries, please contact us at We will respond as soon as possible to determine if your book is available and will provide you with fulfillment date. If a book is already prepped and loaded on the EBM, it can be printed in 7-10 minutes. If a title needs to be created or is a self-published work which needs to be altered, it is a longer process. While fulfillment times can vary, we are happy to work with you to meet your deadline.

If I want to print something of my own, how does it work?
You will need to provide two PDFs, one for the interior text block and one for the cover. For more information on properly formatting your text, please see the Submissions Guidelines tab on the Self-Publishing page. For additional fees, we are able to offer some a la carte services to assist with cover layout, file conversion and minor file fixes. If you need more extensive assistance, it may be best to hire a local freelancer for assistance.

What are the benefits of self-publishing on the EBM?
Some of the many benefits of self-publishing on the EBM include:
  • Retention of all rights to the printed work.
  • Complete authorial control over layout, content and design.
  • No large up-front investments. Print copies only as you need them.
  • Fast turnaround and personalized service. While most commercial publishers work on a long production cycle, we are able to produce proof-copies and short print runs quickly.

How much do books printed from the EBM cost?
Costs vary and are dependent on many factors. For public domain books, we charge according to the length of the book. For in-copyright titles from EspressNet, cost is determined according to length of the book and associated publisher fees. For self-published works, we primarily charge per book, according to page count, in addition to varying set-up fees and a la carte services. Please contact us for more information.

How do I pay for my order?
Payment must be provided in advance of services. Generally, a deposit of 50% is required to begin work on your order. The remaining balance will be charged upon completion.

What is your return policy for books printed on the EBM?
Books printed from the EBM are non-returnable.
  • 4000 Fifth Avenue
  • Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • 412-648-1455

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