Sue Perry likens her role at the Windsor Public Library to that of a midwife.
Perry runs the main library’s self-publishing Espresso Book Machine which has produced 10,699 books in three years and she hopes to be even busier delivering professionally-bound paperback books into the hands of local authors.
Windsor was the first public library in Canada to install such a machine in 2012 so it wasn’t clear how well it would be received. Three years later, the service isn’t a money-maker but its growing popularity and a proposed fee increase could help it break even.
Perry said it’s not about turning a profit but providing a service that, in this case, led to the birth of a writer’s group and gave people a way to publish their work even if they only want one book.
“These people have worked on this work for months and years and years and they bring me this file on a flash drive and I plug it into the machine and (these) Willy Wonka noises happen and out pops a book. And you hand the book to them and it’s still warm,” Perry said Monday of a moment that often involves tears of joy.
“They hold what they’ve been working on forever in their hands and you just see their face change. Their dream is now in their hands.”
The machine is growing in popularity. In its first half year, the machine pumped out 986 books. So far this year, it has printed more than 4,000 books.
There have been more than 248 individual titles produced, books in English, Arabic, Polish, Spanish and French, and authors from teenagers to writers in their 80s. Although people can make a copy of an out-of-print book, 98 per cent of the customers are self publishing, she said. There are children’s books, textbooks, memoirs, fiction novels, how-to manuals and genealogy books.
“It’s just taken off exponentially,” Perry said.
A report to the library board Tuesday includes a proposed price increase which Perry called reasonable. The fees are $15 for set up plus a few dollars for a cover and loading each title and then five cents a page for black and white or 50 cents a page for colour. The report suggests increasing the setup fees, keeping the cost per page the same, and offering a bulk discount at 50 or more copies instead of 30 copies. It costs almost $319 for 50 copies of a soft-cover book and under the proposed new pricing it would cost about $361, she said.
Dorothy Mahoney, a published poet, used the machine to self-publish a 40-page book of her mother-in-law’s memories and recipes for her mother-in-law’s 90th birthday.
“The end result is super professional looking,” Mahoney said.
Karen Kilbride, a St. Clair College English teacher, published a draft of her fiction novel Dead Weight which she hopes to launch in November.
“It was really so inspiring and so wonderful to have a physical copy of something you worked on looking like an actual book that you would pick up at a bookstore,” Kilbride said.
Some of the books produced at the library are sold in book stores.
Library board chairman Peter Frise said libraries are about access to information and ideas and part of that is not just taking what others have created but creating your own things.
“I think it’s just amazing,” Frise said.
Texto original retirado do site The Windsor Star.
HILL, Sharon. With 10,699 books printed, Windsor library’s self-publishing machine is a hit. The Windsor Star: 20 jul. 2015. Disponível em: <http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/with-10699-books-printed-windsor-librarys-self-publishing-machine-is-a-hit>. Acesso em: 28 jul. 2015.