In a series of lectures in 1999 at the New York Public Library, Jason Epstein outlined his vision of the next generation of POD technology: a fully automatic, low-cost device that could be placed in a neighborhood bookshop, coffee shop, newsstand, library, hotel, even aboard a cruise ship or in airports. Unknown to Mr. Epstein, a prototype of the machine he envisioned actually existed in the St. Louis workshop of its inventor, Jeff Marsh. Mr. Marsh remains actively involved with ODB in research, development, and design.
In 2003 Mr. Epstein and his partner Dane Neller founded ODB to develop Mr. Marsh’s machine and integrate it with the digital world. A generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided important seed funding for ODB to develop, test, and build the first beta version of the machine.
The first beta machine was installed at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington, D.C. in April 2006 where it printed thousands of World Bank publications. In September 2006 ODB installed a second beta machine at The Library of Alexandria, Egypt, to print books in Arabic. Since then additional EBMs have printed an enormous volume of books at numerous installations worldwide. Through our partnership with Xerox—whose full force is now selling, leasing, and servicing the EBM worldwide—we expect our growth to accelerate.