Thanks to Barbara Matthews, FASG, I got a tip this week on Facebook about how to print an out-of-copyright book from Google Books. I have wanted to do this for a long time, and tried it myself in various ways (not easy to do). But this time, it’s easy.
Barbara pointed out that the Harvard Book Store has a large book-printing machine out on the floor called Espresso. If you are in the store in Harvard Square, you can order a book and it will be printed and bound within a few minutes, ready for you to purchase it.
But she also pointed out that for the rest of us who will not be wandering around Cambridge anytime soon, there is another way.
Find a Google Book
Go to http://books.google.com. Find a book no longer under copyright (often, that means pre-1923).
The book I searched for came up; a full online copy was there. I opened it up and looked it over – it was a good copy, and clear. The next step is to pull down the “Get this book in print” menu to find the “On Demand Books“ option.
Then you can see the various vendors, and prices, for printing the book.
Cambridge, Mass. would be the closest location to me (although I could choose any of the vendors). The price for the 228 page book is $10.40. Clicking “Get It” takes you to a screen where you choose white or cream paper for your book, then takes you to the Harvard Book Store shopping cart, where you buy it like a normal purchase. I chose the cheaper shipping option – for the three books I bought, shipping totaled $6.50.
Another way, if using the Harvard Book Store, is to go directly to their online catalog, which includes Google Books.
A few thoughts
- I would like to also be able to print books from Internet Archive. I think it may be possible, but it’s not clear how to do it.
- I will update this post with a picture of my volumes when they arrive. I’m not sure what Espresso uses for a cover. [update: picture:]
- Of course, genealogists also benefit from the reprints of Heritage Press, and the on-demand production of old books from Higginson Books (currently having a sale) and NEHGS.
- Having a husband who doesn’t mind building bookcases may come in handy here.
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