Book publisher HarperCollins announced yesterday that it will make around 5000 of its books available for on-demand printing. The Espresso Book Machine can print off your paperback in just a few minutes. No word on whether the device enlists the help of gnomes using buckets-full of fairy dust or just sorcery. From the Wall Street Journal: "HarperCollins is the first major publishing house to make a comprehensive 'active backlist' of titles available via the machine, said Dane Neller, chief executive f On Demand Books. 'Active backlist' is the term used for books that are current and continue to sell well." Punch-drunk heavyweights in the 10th round of a loosing fight, otherwise known as the remaining brick and mortar bookstores, could use this technology to keep a watchful eye on inventory. They can probably use the extra space on the bookshelves to sell you all sorts of things, tablets computers, cell phones, or maybe just socks! Yeah, imagine a bookstore filled with tube socks. You'd like that.