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Opus -- Politics & Prose's Book-printing Machine

Opus is now open for business.
Self published manuscripts
Out-of-print books
Real books in real time
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Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about Opus.

Click here for guidelines on prices and how to format a document for printing.

Many thanks to those of you who ventured into the fiction room in recent weeks and patiently put up with a renovation that involved tarps, noise, and some temporarily relocated titles. We apologize for the disruption, and hope you’ll appreciate why it was necessary. The expanded space now houses an exciting technological innovation in publishing, an Espresso Book Machine, or EBM, which we have nick-named "Opus". It will enable our customers to print many out-of-print books, many copyrighted titles, as well as their own manuscripts in a matter of minutes. We are proud to be the first bookstore in our region to install a print-on-demand machine.

Not much bigger than a commercial copier, Opus can print, bind, and trim a book as Espresso Book Machinecustomers watch through transparent side panels. When finished, the book pops down a chute, much like a soda can sliding out of a vending machine.

The machine was introduced five years ago with the idea that it would be used mainly to obtain out-of-print titles. Indeed, a customer at P&P can now print any of several million titles currently available from files online, including Google Books that are in the public domain, as well as thousands of other copyrighted titles released by major publishers.

That sounds like a lot of titles, although millions more remain under copyright protection and so not accessible to Opus users. The machine’s developer—On Demand Books—is pressing publishers to free up more titles and envisions the day when readers, using Opus, can obtain any book in any language almost instantly.

Most stores that have acquired a print-on-demand machine have found greater customer demand for self-publishing. This includes not just authors eager for instant copies of their own books, but also people with a wide range of other print projects—a family genealogy, a personal cookbook, a town history. In one creative application at a store in New York, a hopeful suitor recently published a book-length marriage proposal.

P&P is proud to join this new effort in non-traditional publishing. Since the machine's introduction in 2006, 11 independent booksellers around the United States have acquired one, and another 60 have been sold to or are pending installation at libraries, universities, and bookstores around the world. Last year, Xerox placed its confidence in on-demand printing, formally partnering with On Demand Books for sales and service.

Espresso Book Machine


For those interested in using Opus, we have prepared a number of documents explaining how to prepare manuscripts for publication and what to expect to pay for copies.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about Opus.

Click here for guidelines on prices and how to format a document for printing.


Brad and Lissa