1,000,000 Books on Board
By Gregg Williams.
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1,000,000 Books on Board
by Gregg Williams
Pubspace site manager
September 30, 2002
Yesterday, the Internet Archive Bookmobile was on view in San Francisco in preparation for its cross-country trip to Washington D.C.. Along the way, it will be printing out public-domain books on demand and giving them to people at schools, libraries, shopping malls, senior citizens centers, and other venues (including the Great American Bookmobile Conference in Columbus OH). The purpose of the trip is to publicize the value of works in the public domain, as well as the practicality of printing books on demand. The bookmobile will arrive in Washington D.C. on October 9, the same day that the Supreme Court will be deciding the case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, a lawsuit challenging the further extension of United States copyright laws.
The bookmobile is one project of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit dedicated to "offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format."
The bookmobile has conductivity to the Internet through the MotoSAT satellite dish (similar to those used by your local television crew) mounted on its roof.
Not counting the satellite dish, it doesn't take that much to print your own books: a laptop computer (below left), a thermal binding machine (a Fastback machine, center), an industrial-strength paper cutter (the kind used by bookmakers, right), and a double-sided laserprinter (not shown). According to Brewster Kahle, director of the Internet Archive (and pictured below), the setup he is taking on the road costs about $5000, although less expensive equipment performing the same functions costs around $3000.
The bookmaking process is simple. First, you browse the Internet Archive site for books that have already been formatted for distribution. You download the desired book, print it on sheets of 11-by-17 inch paper (two book pages per sheet of paper), cut the sheets in half, and join the two halves to make the body of the book. You wrap a special cover (printed on an inkjet printer) around the book body, bind the pages with the binding machine, and use the paper cutter to trim the edges of the book. Kahle says he can print a copy of Alice in Wonderland in about 10 minutes, for a materials cost of about $1.
Copyright 2002 by Gregg Williams
Posted by Lisa at October 03, 2002 03:36 PM