Blogger Jo Francis has returned to Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road to check out the Espresso book machine. The main news is that the machine is not working, waiting on a part. In the extended online version of her blog she mentions the quality of the samples displayed, finding them "pretty ropey". Earlier comment in Printweek had been critical of the binding.
I visited Charing Cross Road a couple of weeks ago and it is true the machine has been waiting on a part. But there are over 200 back orders. Someone has been happy with the result at some point. Last Year Victor Keegan tweeted about the four day wait when the Espresso was working ok.
I think the print industry media should be more positive about this. I think it was in Printweek I read that a Xerox version is expected. The current one is based on Konica Minolta kit. Probably it is the binding that will break down but surely Xerox will have a look at this? Long ago the print operation had a bookshop alongside. Why not a print device in the bookshop? Charing Cross Road still has some empty spaces at the moment. (Let me know if this is changing, easier to report from Hammersmith than from Exeter) . Suppose there was another Espresso in Foyles and maybe a couple in Dillons. Some competition but some sort of arrangement if one broke down.
So this blog is wandering into fantasy,far away from the evidence based traditions of print journalism. But why not? I still think there could be a print show in Earl's Court Two alongside the London Book Fair. Just a bit of time travel is involved. I guess the Espresso will be at Earl's Court again next month. if not, at least it will be remembered. The legitimate print industry can offer short runs of books. Just needs to follow up the public imagination.