Toronto Library offers store-quality book printing to customers

If you want to print your own novel, cookbook or dissertation for under $20, you're in luck. The Toronto Reference Library has unveiled a new book printing machine that prints store-quality paperbacks.

Asquith Press use cost about $145 for 10 copies of a 150-page book

The Toronto Reference Library is will be offering course on how to format copy to work with new book printer. (Shutterstock)

You typically go to the library to take out a book, but now you can go to a Toronto library and make one.

The Toronto Reference Library unveiled its newest form of technology at its Digital Innovation Hub — a book printing machine.

OK, given the fact the printing press is extremely old, what’s new about this?

The Asquith Press is a new book printing service at the Toronto Reference Library that enables customers to design and print paperback books for a relatively reasonable price. (Toronto Public Library)

What’s new is the ability to self-publish books – whether your own piece of literature, a cook book, dissertation or whatever you choose for a relatively reasonable price of $145 for 10 copies of a 150-page book.

"It's like watching a birthing,” said Toronto author Nina Munteanu. She was one of the first people to use the machine.

The Asquith Press, costing about $68,000, sounds like a photocopier while it works, but the Plexiglas sides reveal each stage of the book making process.

"You can literally see the cover being made and all the pages being trimmed and glued together and being bound,” she said.

Dawn Connolly works at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference library. She said there is another attraction for budding authors, no fear of rejection from publishers.

"It puts the tools of creation back in the hands of people who have the imagination or the creativity in the first place."

However, Andrew King with TLAC, a digital print and publishing company located in Toronto, said that while that cost is lower than printing costs at places like Staples, it is not always lower than publishing companies which also do all the labour as well.

“The average cost per book that size, at that volume [if TLAC printed it] would be about $8 to $9,” King said. 

Whatever the cost, the library is already anticipating high demand for the book maker and is offering courses on how to format work for proper printing.