Gustave Eiffel, the Garabit Viaduct
Retreat in Crete

Print-On-Demand at the Librairie des Presses Universitaires de France

Daydreaming on the way to the secret hideout this morning, I missed the train stop. I got off at the next one, thinking to walk to the metro connection. A small bookstore caught my eye on rue Monsieur le Prince.

La librairie de Presses Universitaires de France“La librairie des puf” sells books from Les éditions PUF (Presses Universitaires de France), Belin, and Les éditions de l’Observatoire.

The thing is this: the books are printed in the shop.

When you order a book from their website, it’s printed on what looks like a photocopier attached to transparent box with various screens poking out, an Espresso Book Machine.

Espresso Book Machine
Espresso Book Machine

Fiona, the young lady keeping the shop, launched a print to show me how it worked. From an off-site server, she downloaded l’Antiquité orientale by Pierre Amiet, a reference in archaeology. The paper block is produced on a Xerox printer on one side, while the cover is printed on an Epson color printer attached to the opposite end. The two come together in a glass-encased binder with a shot of glue.

Printing cover
Printing cover
Gluing paperblock
Gluing paperblock
Trimming
Trimming

The machine grips the near-finished book to rotate and trim the sides, and drops it in the delivery slot. The whole process takes about 5 minutes. They’ll ship the product to you, or you can pick it up at the shop.

Voilà - a book
Voilà —a book!

They also have working space with wifi for free and coffee for a couple euros. I didn’t make it to the secret hideout today…

Choose your own path...