In Brief

This Library Lets You Print Your Own Books

by Hrag Vartanian on June 10, 2014

The Toronto Reference Libraries new digital "print shop" (image via )

The Toronto Reference Libraries new digital “print shop” (image via )

While most people go to libraries to check out books, one Toronto library is offering visitors an opportunity to print out their own. The Toronto Reference Library is the flagship branch of Canada’s largest public library system and yesterday they unveiled the Asquith Press at its Digital Innovation Hub.

Interior of the Toronto Reference Library, designed by Raymond Moriyama, and opened in 1977. (photo via flickr.com/cityoftoronto)

Interior of the Toronto Reference Library, designed by Raymond Moriyama, and opened in 1977. (photo via flickr.com/cityoftoronto)

The new machine, which cost the library Cdn$68,000 (~$62,400) allows patrons to print 10 paperback copies of a 150-page book (matte or glossy full-color cover with black and white pages with illustrations inside) for Cdn$145 (~$133).

Librarians hope visitors will use the machine to print their own cookbooks, memoirs, or to self-publish novels, but they also have the option to print books from the library’s extensive digital archive or database of more than three million book titles.

The library is also maintaining a Pinterest board with many of the titles they have already printed, and judging these books by their cover the range is rather diverse.

Two of the first books published at the Toronto Reference Library's new Asquith Press. (image via www.pinterest.com/torontolibrary/asquith-press)

Two of the first books published at the Toronto Reference Library’s new Asquith Press. (image via www.pinterest.com/torontolibrary/asquith-press)

The Toronto library isn’t the only library offering this service. Last year, the DC Public Library introduced On Demand Books for a similar cost, while libraries in Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Alexandria, and elsewhere also offer similar services.

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  • presquerien

    there are actually quite a lot of these. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_Book_Machine

    • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

      We mention that and link to them in the last paragraph.

  • http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com jurassicpork

    Hm. Should I print up a book from the library for $133 or buy it on Amazon for a penny plus shipping? Decisions, decisions…

    • samforsyth

      It’s meant to print your OWN books…as in, books you’ve written.

  • SilkyOtter

    I saw this years ago and utterly fell in love with the idea. It’s romantic, and to create your own or to reprint [recreate] someone else’s is to become part of the story. I think the price to have a book made while you wait [question: Who binds it?] is a bargain. It’s not only delivering a practical service [what if you cant find a particular book anywhere?] but the concept alone is worth the price of admission.
    “The Asquith Press said, Let there be War and Peace; he willed it, and at once there was War and Peace”.

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