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The Wall St. Journal reports that the Brooklyn Library has installed an “Espresso Book Machine,” a six-figure gadget that can print books on demand in a matter of minutes, allowing out-of-print works with no prospect of selling more than a few copies to be printed.

Apparently, the system is integrated with the Library of Goolglandria that was discussed in this space last week.

Perhaps Herr Gutenberg has some legs yet, Age of Kindle notwithstanding.

London, April 7, 1900

In asking me to contribute a mite to the memorial to Gutenberg you give me pleasure and do me honor.

The world concedes without hesitation or dispute that Gutenberg’s invention is incomparably the mightiest event that has ever happened in profane history. It created a new and wonderful earth, and along with it a new hell. It has added new details, new developments and new marvels to both in every year during five centuries. It found Truth walking, and gave it a pair of wings; it found Falsehood trotting, and gave it two pair. It found Science hiding in corners and hunted; it has given it the freedom of the land, the seas and the skies, and made it the world’s welcome quest. It found the arts and occupations few, it multiplies them every year. It found the inventor shunned and despised, it has made him great and given him the globe for his estate. It found religion a master and an oppression, it has made it man’s friend and benefactor. It found War comparatively cheap but inefficient, it has made it dear but competent. It has set peoples free, and other peoples it has enslaved; it is the father and protector of human liberty, and it has made despotisms possible where they were not possible before.

Whatever the world is, today, good and bad together, that is what Gutenberg’s invention has made it: for from that source it has all come. But he has our homage; for what he said to the reproaching angel in his dream has come true, and the evil wrought through his mighty invention is immeasurably outbalanced by the good it has brought to the race of men.

Truly Yours,

Mark Twain