There’s a page on the Homeless Dave website called HD Washin’ Man, which is probably the most frequently visited page on the site. It documents a pedal-powered laundry spinner I cobbled together. It’s more popular than Bill Clinton’s teeter totter interview or even T. Casey Brennan’s. (T. Casey has a massive email contact list and he’s not bashful about using it.) I hear from T. Casey from time to time or else bump into him on my frequent trips through downtown Ann Arbor.
After Wednesday, Oct. 1, visitors to the University of Michigan Shapiro Library will be able to leave with a book and never have to return it – because it was just printed off with a perfect binding on an Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books and paid for right on the spot. The option to have a book printed is restricted for now to out-of-copyright books from the university’s digitized collections, which currently includes over 2 million volumes.
At a cost of about only $10 per book, the entire digitized collection (as it currently stands) could be recreated in physical form by an Espresso Book Machine for $20 million. Put a different way, for the $700 billion price tag of the currently proposed bailout of our core financial institutions, we could instead reprint the digitized collection of the UM library 35,000 times. At 5-7 minutes per book, that project would, on a low estimate, take one Espresso Book Machine [70 billion]*[5 minutes], or 665,905 years.